The past two days have not been so good. The morning after our little flood, my husband came down with a nasty stomach bug and has been completely out of commission. In my somewhat desperate and almost certainly futile efforts to keep the kids from getting it, I have spent a possibly unreasonable amount of time spraying things with disinfectant and saying things like, "Stay away from Dad! He's infected!" and "Wait! Don't touch that!" and (to my husband), "Wouldn't you like to just stay in this room and not leave it at all? Call me on my cell if you need anything."
He is feeling somewhat better today, so I left him lying on the sofa and took a little trip to the sheep farm. I got these:
And some of this:
Why, you ask? Because my younger son is in second grade. Not following, huh? In our school district, second grade is when they do the "ancestry unit." This is my favorite unit. The kids learn about their ancestors and how they lived. They do stuff like interview their grandparents, play at being immigrants on a mock-Ellis Island, take part in an assembly put on by the local historical society in which they put on old-fashioned clothing and learn the rules of the one-room school house, and go on a field trip to San Diego's Old Town. This year, in a moment of what I can only explain as temporary insanity, I suggested to my son's teacher that maybe I could come in and demonstrate spinning and knitting--common old-time handwork that most kids have probably never seen. I was envisioning bringing my spinning wheel and needles into my son's class, sitting down for 15 or 20 minutes, and playing with fiber while talking to the 20 kids I volunteer with every week.
Next thing I know, I am scheduled for two 45-minute presentations with 50 kids each, plus teachers and staff, in the school library.
It occurred to me this morning--at 5:30 this morning, coming abruptly out of a sound sleep--that there is no way I can fill 45 minutes with fiber-related material that will keep 50 second-graders meaningfully-engaged and (maybe more importantly) sitting quietly. I had a small panic attack. I am one of those people who fear public speaking more than death. One might wonder, then, why I would volunteer for such an assignment.The simple answer is, sitting in my son's class for 15 minutes is not public speaking. Doing a 45-minute presentation in the school library for people (even children) I don't know is. I can't tell you at what point a simple, fun demo becomes an anxiety-producing public speaking event, but it's somewhere between 15 and 45 minutes.
Since my dignity will not allow me to call the teacher and explain that I am a coward and will probably melt into a little puddle of shivering goo if she makes me get up there in front of a group of seven-year-olds, I did the next best thing. I sat down and wrote out a presentation outline worthy of a PhD dissertation. And then I drove to the sheep farm for props. This will be a presentation to remember. I have pictures. I have fiber. I have samples. I have unwashed wool, uncarded wool, carded wool, and roving. I have hand carders and a spinning wheel and knitting needles and crochet hooks. I will have volunteers and demonstrations, and if all else fails, I have a book to read to them.
Bring it on. And just in case I really do melt into a little puddle of shivering goo, bring a mop.