Tuesday, February 2, 2016

"Mrs. Ricci's Having a Baby!!" (Sharing the News With My Kindergarten Class)

How does a kindergarten teacher tell her class she's having a baby??

There is no magic answer really but I was super excited about this from even before we were pregnant. My BFF, Alli, is also a teacher and when she was pregnant with her first child, she told her class of third graders through a game of Telephone (where you sit in a circle and whisper a message around the circle to everyone before saying it out loud). I've always loved this and since hearing her fun story I couldn't wait to plan something to surprise my class too whenever/if-ever that chance came around. 

Now, let's face it, 5-year olds are NOT great at the game of Telephone (ha!) so I did NOT tell them this way. I did consider it and we tried a few rounds of it the week or two before I announced (to try to test them out in a sense) but it was a dud. The phrase I would whisper would make it correctly through maybe 4 kids max and then change along the way and be something SO ridiculous and not even close to the original phrase by the end. I mean, the point is that it's a fun game but it's also to at least TRY for good listening and speaking to be accurate. Final verdict- I would not be telling them this way. On to Plan B... 

I was honestly almost as excited about telling my class as I was about telling my coworkers. However, I didn't want any coworkers to give it away to the kids accidentally so when I sent out my school announcement I asked them to please not say anything to the kids until the news was out. Thankfully everyone did a great job of that; I got plenty of excitement hugs that morning as the kids were arriving, but no one mentioned "baby", "pregnant", or even "Congrats" so they were all pretty oblivious. 

So here's what I did...
We had a science project due that day called The Mystery Box. Essentially, all the kids were asked to bring in a mystery item enclosed in a box so no one could see it. When it was their turn to share, the class would have to guess what was in the box through a few different ways (1. Without looking, reach your hand in and feel the object, 2. Shake the box and guess by the sound(s) and by the size/shape of the box, or 3. By listening to clues about the object). We had used the touchy-feely box as an example a few times earlier in the year to go along with sense of touch and the kids love it. I put a different object in there each time and usually make it something they may be familiar with. One by one they all have a chance to come up and put their hand in to feel the mystery object and silently think of a guess in their mind. When all classmates have had a turn they then make their guesses. So I used that! 



Before the kids arrived that day, I took the plastic baby bottle from our dress-up/kitchen center and placed it inside the mystery box. I chose this because it's something they are all familiar with and because it was a clue to my big news. I put this aside to save for later. Every day we have a "morning meeting" where we talk about the schedule for the day, we look at the calendar, the weather, count how many days we've been in school, etc. This is also a time to share any big news or current events. We had just had a long weekend for MLK Day and I told the kids I had a secret... it was a surprise and that it was very big news to share. I told them it was not a secret treat for them (so they wouldn't immediately think they were getting candy or that it was all about them as 5-year olds often can't help but think) and that it was something very exciting to ME and I wanted to give them clues to guess it. I even made a quick note on the board that said something like "Mrs. Ricci has a secret!! Can you follow the clues to guess what it is??" (Of course I wish I had taken a pic of it and I didn't... Whoops!)

Since we were sharing Mystery Boxes that day anyway, I told them I would go first as it related to my news too. I had told myself to not have high hopes because they're little kids and wouldn't possibly match my level of excitement. Low expectations is often best when doing stuff like this because they often surprise you. The kids all sat in a circle and I reminded them of the rules that they would each get a turn and they were not to make a peep while others were guessing. No "I know what it is!!!!" or giving away clues or whispering to their neighbors. I only mention this because while I always expect at least a small degree of this, they were all completely silent!! Like crazy quiet, like little angels awaiting their turn and to hear my big secret. I think they were actually excited to hear! :) I complimented them on how they were waiting so quietly and patiently and then finally all had a turn so I asked them to raise their hand if they knew what was in the box. Most hands shot up and they, of course, guessed correctly... "A BABY BOTTLE!!". 

Yup... so now onto the secret. 
"What would a baby bottle have to do with my news? Can anyone guess my secret?" (A decent amount of hands shot up, happily to my surprise!) I asked them to say their guess, in a quiet voice, all together. Sure enough, I heard quite a few say (kind of confused/shocked) "There's a baby" or "You're having a baby!" and "You're having a baby??????".... hahaha. :) :) :) 

All smiles and giggles (no surprise!), I tell them YES, I'M HAVING A BABY!!! The girls started cheering (as expected) and the boys were either kind of confused and/or happy (more than I expected so that's a plus!). I quickly told them the basic facts that they needed...

1. The baby is VERY TINY (showed them with my hand how it was only a few inches long, if that).
2. The baby won't be born until the summer so they wouldn't actually see it until they are in 1st grade.
3. My belly looks normal now but we're going to watch it get VERY big for the rest of the year. 
4. I don't know if it's a boy or a girl yet... but we will know soon! 
5. Summer is not tomorrow or next week, or even next month. It's going to be a long time to wait. 

I have to say, they were all so so excited and SO cute and sweet about it! I was very happily surprised and it went so perfectly! My teacher aide was with me for the reveal too and even she was impressed by their reactions (we both had low expectations for the boys). 

The kids asked about the other clues (I previously told them I had other clues if they couldn't guess yet... or if I changed my mind on how to tell them last min!) so I pulled them out of my bag, one by one. 

1. A stuffed animal giraffe. 
2. Baby blocks that spell B-A-B-Y.
3. Teeny baby socks. 
4. A baby book.
5. The ultrasound pic from the day before. 

When I got to the ultrasound picture, I explained that it's often a tricky picture to look at so I would explain it first. We told the kids that because the baby is in my belly and so tiny, we can't see it yet so special cameras see and take a special picture. I explained what a profile was and pointed out where to look to see the baby and how it was positioned. I then walked around the circle slowly, giving them all a chance to see and pointing out Baby Bee's head. They were seriously SO darn excited. It was so cute!! They kept calling out "Awwwww!!!!", "So cute!!!", "Look at the baby!!", "I see it!", and more "Awwwwwwww!!!" from the girls! One of my boys even said "I think it's a boy... because he has short hair like a boy!!" (HA!). We explained that especially at this point, babies don't have hair yet, and even when born they may only have a teeny bit. But it was SO cute I had to include it. 

This was seriously so much fun and my excitement poured out to the classroom. I loved that the kids were excited. We even took a vote on whether they thought boy or girl, and we explained that whatever had the most votes this time didn't mean that would win (as our classroom votes usually work- LOL). Of course, pretty much all the girls voted girl and the boys voted boy. There may have been 1 exception on either end but ultimately it was a tie anyway. One of my girls was absent but came in about an hour later. I felt bad she missed the whole event but I had some of my most excited girls tell her my big secret. They shouted "Mrs. Ricci's having a baby!!" and this little girl (who has a new baby brother) immediately said "Oh wow, that's cool!". :) 

The rest of the day was a buzz of excitement. Any time we left the room and saw new teachers in the hall, or if any other adults came in the room, a group of kids would shout and announce "Mrs. Ricci's having a baby!!!". It honestly made me laugh or just beam every time. 

When lunch time came around, I called over 2 girls from my class last year and whispered it to them that I was having a baby. Literally within minutes I think half the cafeteria knew and for the rest of the day kids in 1st and 2nd grade were coming up and telling me congratulations and that they were so happy and they knew my baby would be cute. Kids are so funny! 

One heart-warming moment was when four middle-school girls came running down the hall to my door and were practically screaming and giggling with excitement. They had overheard 2 teachers talking and asked who it was about. They said me and they begged to come see me (we are in a small K-8 school so it's not uncommon to see "the big kids" from time to time). They all gave me big hugs and said they were so excited. I had them all when I taught 1st grade so it was very sweet that they wanted to come down and share the excitement! It made me feel so loved. (*The next day, a 5th grade girl asked her teacher if she could come see me too and it was for the same reason. She wanted to congratulate me, give me a hug, and say how happy she was when she heard the news and wanted to make sure it was true. So sweet!!)  Obviously the kids in the building have no idea of the struggle we went through. The most I would say, if anything, is that I've wanted this for a long long time and I'm so happy. 

The girls in my K class crack me up... they love the dress-up "kitchen" play center and for months a few of them have been pretending to be pregnant (remember, one has a baby brother anyway so it's totally normal behavior anyway). We have 2 baby dolls and they shove them under their shirt and walk around saying they're having a baby. I knew those girls would be the most excited and of course now someone is pregnant on a daily basis in that play center. Except now they either pretend to be me or their baby is due in summer too! A few girls have birthdays at the end of July and are so excited Baby Ricci is due then too! One of the boy moms emailed to tell me all of the boy's play animals at home that week were pregnant... every single one of them. So cute! lol... they seriously crack me up.

A few days after announcing, I randomly saw one of the 2nd grade boys in the hall. He turned and said "Congratulations, Mrs. Ricci". I started to say "Aww thank you!" and he cut me off, clearly not done with his sentence. "...on being President.... of the school", he said.... I paused for a second and then it hit me that he must have misheard "President" for "Pregnant". Poor kid! I explained "no no, I'm not President... You may have heard "Pregnant"... I'm having a baby!". He, looking very confused and not as excited, said "Oh.... Cool." Sorry kiddo, not President. Less exciting to you; More exciting to me! 

The girls keep giving me extra hugs and saying it's either for the baby or will say "Hi baby" as they hug me. It's seriously the sweetest. This little Bee is surrounded by love 24/7. I told the kids they would get to watch my belly get very big and that we could measure my belly every week (an idea I saw online from another teacher) so we started that last week since it's now noticeable. I think it'll serve as great data for measurement and graphing eventually... so I'm totally throwing in educational value here, too! 

A few of the kids have drawn pictures for/of the baby too (all on their own) either at home or during free time at school! The one below is a drawing of "Mrs. Ricci, Mr. Ricci, and Baby Ricci". :)


(Funny story about the one below... I let the kids free-draw/write in their journals and one of my super creative/imaginative/bright girls drew and wrote this the morning of my announcement "A rainbow peanut." Little did she know that I would be announcing NOR little does she know the double meaning here. To ME, this was a huge sign that Baby Bee is okay. The baby you have after a miscarriage is called a Rainbow Baby... and a teeny fetus is like a peanut. I also referred to both embryos/babies early on as Peanuts... So A Rainbow Peanut, on the day I announced, almost brought me to tears... woa! Way cool!) <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3



What Do You Think, Blue or Pink?
I also came across a cute freebie worksheet online too about my teacher having a baby. I sent it home for the parents to help the kids complete it and my amazing teacher aide hung them in the hallway. We got some funny answers for baby names, sizes, and due dates. Some were vague "Baby will be born on _____." Someone wrote "Friday". 1 in 7 shot, kid. Go place a bet! :) Also got some BIG babies and some microscopic babies! Too funny. Some kids even guessed the baby name as their own name. **Note: We are keeping the name a secret so it's anyone's guess at this point. That can be a different bet later on in the school year.** 



My awesome teacher aide also had the idea to take staff votes too and to hang all the guesses in the hallway (seriously, she's the best!) so we have a growing list of votes until we find out at the end of the month. 


Staff picks are on paper baby bottles, in pink or blue. Our art teacher drew Pooh Bear on it and everyone who guesses is writing their name and either a message or an additional guess. Someone even wrote a weight guess of 6lbs 4oz (truly a peanut!). The overwhelming guess of girl over boy is hysterical and I can't help but wonder, according to the wive's tales if that really means I'm gaining weight in all the wrong places and breaking out... bc I am. lol. Not that it has to be girl- I blame my McDonald's cravings for that and literally have no idea which it is at the moment. Not all votes are in; we have until the end of the month to get guesses in. Leave your guess in a comment below! :) 


I'm likely forgetting fun stories and details but I can always add them later. The same keeps happening for my weekly updates. I later think "Ugh- why didn't I do this or take a pic of that or add that story?". Pregnancy Brain- it's a real thing, people! I blame that! I have yet to draw on a chalkboard I bought (bc my photo apps on my phone are pretty handy backups) and I keep forgetting to take weekly pics on the same day or wearing the same outfit... but it's all human. It's normal. Bottom line is I am loving every minute of this. It's so so fun! :)

Thanks for sharing in the excitement!! <3

Love,

Stace

#TeamRicci
XOXO

2 comments:

  1. cousin Jenn &amp; ChrisFebruary 3, 2016 at 3:07 AM

    Thank you for sharing your stories. We are just so happy for you both and getting to read your updates are extra special. (I email them to mom as well.) My vote is girl. I have known this since you started trying. Luv Ya!

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