I’m teaching my second grade writers about Small Moments. I read them stories written by great authors, pointing out how the authors use their words to focus in on a small stretch of time. I show them how the authors describe the fine details of what they saw, felt, touched – everything that they sensed in the moment - so that the reader feels right there with them, and how the authors write about their thoughts and feelings so the reader thinks and feels those, too. My students and I talk about these things, and more, and then they write. And so do I. We share our stories at the end of writing time – hopefully to learn from each other, but to show off a little bit, too. I’ll share this with them on Monday:
I was changing Violet on the bathroom counter. I’ve changed her on that counter over 500 times, maybe over 1,000 times. Over the last 300 or so diaper changes, she has come to do certain things and I do, too. She tries to roll over. She tries to grab our bathroom cup. She kicks her feet (sometimes she hurts me but I don’t think she does it on purpose). She throws everything she can into the sink. And during all of that, I try to change her diaper. I try to give her toys to distract her. I try to be kind but firm. Sometimes I yell, and sometimes she cries. It’s like trying to put a diaper on a cat. But today, she stopped all of her squirming and looked at me. I leaned over and put my face near hers. I could hear the air coming and going through her tiny nostrils, being pushed and pulled by her tiny lungs, and I stared into her blue eyes while she stared into mine. She smiled her six-tooth smile (four up top, two below), and put her hand on my cheek. Her hand was cool. It felt good. And we just stayed like that. Maybe it was only ten seconds, but I’ll remember it forever.