Thursday, May 07, 2009

Bundles of Joy

For the last year my sister has been teaching kindergarten at a private school in Holladay. She's been trying to get me to come in and entertain her students, but I honestly can't think of anything I do that would be of any interest to a five-year-old. So we finally came up with a compromise: Katie has been talking up her 20-year-old pet Cockatiel to her students for several months, so yesterday I brought Satan to class.

(The bird isn't really named Satan...officially, anyway. It's first name was Baby Bundles, which then evolved into just plain Bundles, and now he's referred to as the Bird of the Morning. Satan.)

Now that I have finally met her crew, my suspicions are confirmed: there is nothing I can do that can possibly interest a kindergartner. They were my toughest crowd since I visited the Toastmasters. I told them about being an English teacher, a TV producer, and even about my trip to New Orleans (I think I made a joke about Hurricane Katrina in desperation), all to blank stares. I probably should have just put the bird on top of my shaved head and made goofy faces. At least a few of them agreed that the best breakfast cereal is Boo Berry.

Satan, on the other hand, scored major points with the kids. As my sister told me afterwards, all you have to do to hold a kindergartner's rapt attention is be alive and not be human. Preferably with bright colors. As Katie sat in the corner holding the bird, the kids gradually closed in around her like a pack of plaid jumper and khaki-clad kittens, babbling questions, bobbing up and down, determined to get a close-up look at this foreign presence. When Katie put the bird on her shoulder, the kids started joking that she looked like a pirate. When she finally gave in to let a couple of the kids come pet Satan, her students looked like their heads were going to explode.

The Bird of the Morning, for his part, handled his role pretty well. Considering his circumstances, he remained cool and collected, only getting a little wigged out when called upon to fly ten feet from my sister's hand to the top of his cage, to the utter thrills of his audience. In the wake of this demonstration, I overheard a pint-sized conversation at my feet:

"I wish I could fly."


"I would fly all over the room..."

I know what you mean, kid. I know what you mean.