Friday, May 8, 2015

Motha, pure and sweet....

 In yet another attempt to prove my uniqueness, I present to you a poem, memorized years ago:

Babyland, 
by Emma Fosbeck

How many miles to Babyland?
Anyone can tell.
Up one flight, to the right, 
please to ring the bell.

What do you see in Babyland?
Little folks in white.
Downeyed heads in cradled beds
faces pure and bright.

What do they do in Babyland?

Laugh, and jump and play (they do)
Shout and crow, scream and grow,
Jolly Times have they.

What do they say in Babyland?
Why da oddest things!
You might as well try and tell,
what a birdie sings.

Who is the queen of Babyland?
Motha, 
pure and sweet.
And her love, born above, 
guides their little feet.


Yes, my sister and I were big fans of Lenny and Squiggy, aka Lenny and the Squigtones.  So how could I not share the wonderful influence of their profound poetry, this mother's day weekend?


The task is upon us.  (Okay, the task is upon THEM.)

Lenny and Squiggy caused me to a break a rule in the activity currently happening in my Themes in Literature class.  Understand, it's not my rule -- it's a rule that has been debated in both sections, however, as each individual student attempts to define the 101 most influential fictional characters in their lives.

Inevitably, there is an inseparable duo submitted in a discussion by someone, eliciting both positive agreements and vehement opposition, with the primary objection being "THAT IS TWO PEOPLE!"  I've been silent on this for a while, but it's evident to me that neither Lenny, nor Squiggy, individually, influenced me.  (Or, I would argue, my sister, Karen.)  It is their collective fictional existence that encouraged the memorization of the immortal Babyland poem, along with countless other shenanigans that have formed inside jokes in our family for more than 35 years.  (They are truly characters of influence.)

This week, as mentioned in previous blog entries, was noted more for the lack of instruction than actual instruction, thanks to AP exams and pre-concert rehearsals.  I had intentionally
projected this to be one of those weeks with a revolving door of absentees, so time was reserved for the Themes in Lit classes to begin to rank their 101 characters.  Each student now has at least 101 annotated cards, having analyzed the habits of mind, characters, storylines, morals, and other characteristics of their 101 most influential characters.  And the ranking has begun.

Some are sorting in descending order.  Some are single-elimination bracketing.  Others are adding a fail safe double elimination.  The competition is intense, with an occasional primal cry from one person or another of "Noooo!  I can't choose between Santa and Scooby Doo..."  (substitute your two favorites in the previous sentence.)

I've spent a lot of time repeatedly reminding that there is a great difference between favorite and influential.
 And as I think back, during this Teacher Appreciation Week as we head into the Mother's Day weekend, I am hoping that the same criteria applies to real relationships as well, as I've reflected on favorite mentors, all of those "other mothers" (in addition to my own) that contributed to who I am as a person, and influential teachers that have touched my life.  

Fortunately for me, there was no assignment to annotate cards or rank them in a rubber-banded stack.  Because every good daughter knows that #1 is always reserved for Mom, and that Scooby Doo and Santa -- or Lenny and the Squigtones -- would be left in the dust to the impact she's made on my life.  


Happy Mother's Day!