Every Friday a different mom comes into Hank's class to do some kind of cooking activity with them. My day was approaching and I was low on ideas. It might have been Bloody Marys if the teacher hadn't come to the rescue. She had it all figured out.
I went to the class in the morning and read that Gingerbread Baby book to them. Then I pulled out the supplies I'd brought, and using a big sheet pan we got from the cafeteria, I shaped a big gingerbread man. The kids loved watching this. We gave him a few rudimentary decorations--eyes, mouth, buttons--nothing too fussy. Then we took the big pan to the cafeteria, where the lunch ladies were already our confederates.
We handed over the big gingerbread man to them, exhorting them, "Please keep a close eye on him! And whatever you do, don't open the oven door too early! These guys are very crafty and quick!" They promised that they would guard him carefully, and then they slid the pan into the big industrial oven. The kids watched this as carefully as if they were UN nuclear facility inspectors.
We went back to the classroom and read the next in the Gingerbread Baby series, Gingerbread Friends. As we finished, one of Hank's teachers came running into the room, the sheepish lunch ladies right behind her. "You guys! You'll never believe what happened! The good news is, your little cookies are ready, but the big one that Hank's mom made got away!" (She had pre-prepared little individual men for them to decorate, and the ladies bore them in on a sheet pan.) "He's running loose in the school, he could be anywhere!" she said.
The kids absolutely erupted. One little boy clapped his hands to his forehead and said, "I knew this would happen!" They were all on their feet and ready for action. A few ran out into the hall and peered in all directions. After a few moments of complete frenzy, the teacher drew their attention to a little card that had been taped outside the door. As you might imagine, it said "Run run run, as fast as you can..." and it had a little rhyme with a clue for them to solve.
The clues were pitched right at their level, and the clues led us from the classroom, to the gym, to the nurse's office, to the library, to the front desk, and finally, right into the very heart of darkness, the principal's office.
The teacher appointed Hank to go up to her desk and politely state our business. The kids all crowded around and he said, "Um, Mrs. B, we are looking all over the school for our gingerbread man who got away, have you seen him? He is brown?"
The principal was actually chewing when the class came in, and the cookie man was lying right there on her desk. She had partly covered it with a piece of paper, but the sharp-eyed kindergarteners spotted him.
It was so hilarious. They were kind of outraged with her! She said, "I wanted to eat him for breakfast!" And one girl goes, "You should eat breakfast at home." Like, please lady.
So maybe now the kids believe that baked goods can become sentient and develop volition, but that it's okay to eat them anyway. I don't know. But it was the cutest dang thing!
I'm off now to eat a special lunch at school with Hank, part of an absolute parade of merriment that is unfolding over the next few days. Are y'all hip-deep in this stuff now? I love it all. xoxo