I signed up a month ago as the Mystery Reader for my son’s Kindergarten class today. I read ‘Duck on a bike’ by David Shannon to them.  It wasn’t my first choice, actually. I was going to find a book with a ‘message’. Something like, a book about a child from a different culture/country. Or a book about a celebration (not necessarily a religious one) in other country. Yes, I have a hidden agenda to educate small town folks (children are a good start) about multiculturalism. But… too bad so sad, the books I was looking for were checked out from the library. I didn’t have much time, so ‘Duck on a bike’ would just have to be it. And actually, it’s not a bad book. It’s humorous, has a repetitive crescendo (the kids enjoyed doing the animal sounds), and a goofy ending.

Arrived at school by noon, I stopped by at the office to report. The secretary then use the PA system to inform the classroom, “Hello Mrs Tickle classroom, your Mystery Reader is here.” Then I heard the teacher over the PA tried to shush the kids and told them to sit on their bottoms on the carpet then replied, “OK, we’re ready…”

As I was walking from the office to my son’s classroom, my heart was beating fast. I know this sounds silly, they’re just kids, Kindergarteners nonetheless.  But  it’s been a while since I did ‘public speaking’. Anyway, when I opened the classroom door, the teacher said, “Children, cover your eyes and don’t peek.” So I naughtily covered my face with the book. When the teacher said, “Children, open open your eyes, and welcome your Mystery Reader.” I lowered the book inch by inch and I could hear the kids were yelling, “Tanner, it’s your Mom!” and one or two, “No, that’s my Mom!”. But when the book was finally lowered down to my nose, I see and hear Dante shrieked, “MOMMY!” and he jumped out from the criss-cross apple sauce position and hugged me.

After everybody calmed down, I sat on the chair in front of 22 kids who were sitting ever so cutely on the carpet. Read the book while occassionally asked the kids if they could immitate an animal sound (bad move, by the way; they all got too wired up). Done reading in about 15 minutes, the teacher allowed Dante to come up to me so his friends could ask us some questions. Dante was in charge of selecting which student who raised their hands quietly. I could tell that he’s all proud and happy, hence his goofy style -he’s twirling his index finger in the air (like a cowboy to a lasso) then point it to somebody. Some example of the questions:

Boy #1: “Umm… what is your favorite restaurant?”
Dante: “Captain Iwan’s.” Then of course I had to explain that Captain Iwan’s is actually our kids’ nick name for the Indonesian restaurant here which owned by a guy named Iwas but he’s not a Captain in any form.

Boy #2: “Does Dante have a bike?”
Dante: “Yup. It’s red and black.” He didn’t mention that it still has training wheels, but nobody’s asking, right?

Girl #1: “Umm… what’s your favorite thing to do?”
Dante: “Watching TV and play video game” *grin*

Girl #2: “Do you guys play together a lot?”
Me: “Yes. We like to play Lego Star wars video game together. I’ll be Darth Vader and Dante would be the Princess Leia.” Dante protested ‘Nooo!’ right away.

Girl #3: “This one is for Dante. When are you going to get your ‘moon house’ out again?” This girl is actually our neighbor and a ‘moon house’ is an inflatable bouncer that we have which we usually put up when the weather’s nice.
Me: “Umm, don’t know yet. We’ll call you when we set it out at  the backyard.”

Done with the questioning, it’s time for lunch. I looked at the time and thought, “If I join him for lunch, I’d be 10 minutes late back to work. But oh well, who cares? I’ve been busting my ass off lately and darn it, I’m spending time for lunch with my son!”

Here’s our retarded pics at the cafetaria: