You'd have thought that I was handing out puppies. Their eyes grew big and squeals of delight came from boys and girls alike. Their enthusiasm was so intense, it startled me.
And their reaction made me think of last spring, when the debate was on about our school budget, and I was in danger of being cut or assigned to a different grade. A fellow teacher asked me how I would feel if I had to teach kindergarten, and I was honest. I said, "I don't think I could do it." I'm sure I've said it in a post before, but I'm a low-key person, and the best kindergarten teachers get excited about everything. They do it for the kids. I just don't have the ability to generate that much forced merriment, or to say it more precisely, I didn't think I did. What I didn’t realize before – what I didn’t realize until Violet came along – is that show of enthusiasm doesn’t have to be forced. When I play with Violet, my own enthusiasm for small things surprises me. Her laugh, her smiles, and her interests generate and feed that enthusiasm. It doesn’t matter what the focus is – a stuffed animal, a block, a Tupperware lid, or an uneaten spoonful of food. There are times when I mentally step back for a moment, bewildered by the high, girlish excitement I hear in my own voice as I try to get Violet excited about this or that. Maybe my enthusiasm will dull with time. I hope not. I like being excited with my daughter, as excited as a second grader over stickers.
360 days old