In all my years of being a preschool teacher, I have heard all sorts of things from little mouths. Here are just a few of the things I’ve heard that have had me chuckling (or wondering).
4 year old boy: “Miss Sarah, on my next birthday, I’m gonna be 5, and my voice is gonna change.”
3 year old girl learning to use a ruler: “You must be a giant! I can’t measure you with my ruler.”
4 year old girl playing restaurant: “Will you please leave my restaurant now. You’re not even ordering. You’re just sitting there.”
4 year old girl on the anticipation of her new baby brother or sister: ” Baby Spagetti’s gonna come out of Mama’s tummy soon.”
4 year old boy: “My Mommy’s having a baby, and she’s gonna poop it out.”
3 year old girl: “My daddy used to snore, but now he uses a machine so he doesn’t wake my mom up anymore.”
3 year old girl whose dad is serving in Afganistan: “My daddy’s super awesome, ’cause he fights the bad guys.”
5 year old girl when I was demonstrating an art project that involved cutting: “My Mom says I can’t use scissors anymore, because I cut my hair” (I actually hear this one a lot).
Sometimes, parents would be horrified to know the things their kids tell their teachers. We hear all about how Daddy snores (and just how loud it is), and how Mommy needs to work out “because she’s fat.”
We know whenever ANYONE in the house threw up. Sometimes, their sense of time gets in the way with that one. An example: “I frowed up last night, and my mommy gave me medicine.” A teacher’s initial thought might be: “Great…” The reality is, it might be a month after they really threw up. Speaking of puke, we usually know where they threw up, and what it looked like. One I hear a lot: “I threw up all over my bed” or “I threw up all over Mommy’s bed.”
We hear about movies and games that they are probably too young to be watching. We usually know about pregnancies long before you are ready to tell anyone! Sometimes, we even hear about pregnancies that are made up because the child really wants a brother or sister. We hear about deaths in the family (real or made up), pets that are sick or died, and their perceptions of what grown ups are talking about. Don’t worry, as preschool teachers, we take everything we hear with a grain of salt. We know that most things that come out of the mouths of 2-5 year olds are most likely exaggerations of reality.
On occasion, we do ask the parents about stories we hear. We want to support the families we serve, and if they need any sort of help, we want to be there for them. It’s also helpful for us to know about things that are going on in the family, as it might affect the behaviors of the children. Once, a boy told us that the police came and took his dad away, and that he was shot. Since the dad had dropped him off that day, I had to ask the mom if everything was ok at home. She told us her son makes up stories – a lot. Everything was fine. Then she apologized for worrying us. I assured her we are used to hearing extreme stories, we just wanted to make sure everything was alright.
Sometimes, we hear things that we think might be an exaggeration, and it turns out to be true. I once had a 5 year old tell me her uncle was having his leg cut off, and getting a new one. I didn’t think twice about it, until I met her uncle. He had gotten his leg damaged by shrapnel in Iraq, and had gotten a prosthetic leg.
One of my all time favorites from years ago, from a 4 year old girl: “My Mommy’s having a tummy tuck today!”