Some people revere Confucius and quote his wise words to shape their lives. Growing up, we quoted the immortal advice of my great-grandmother: “Don’t pick at it.”
These days in our house, we quote the wisdom of Mrs Tania. Tania is my son Jackson’s teacher at school, and I hope someday we’ll be best friends who drink wine together. Jackson adores her, and for the last few months has come home parroting her oft-used teaching phrases.
“Mrs Tania says…” is the start of at least one conversation every day, and I can’t get enough. She has children a little older than mine and survives five days a week in a classroom with twenty-two three-year-olds, so she’s basically a magical unicorn. Any thoughts she’s willing to share, I’m all ears.
Mrs Tania says, for example, “We don’t hit our friends.” Coming from Mommy, it gets an eye-roll. Coming from Mrs Tania, it’s law. When the kids started playing with pretend weapons at school, she said, “Only the police use guns to keep us safe.” When you’re a little boy without hips and your pants refuse to stay up, you’re “showing crackers”. Other gems include we pull up our pants after we potty and everyone eats their own snack, both of which I find to be concise and informative.
Sometimes Jackson repeats silly things she’s said, like when she catches a kid messing around when they should be napping she says, “Oooh mamamamama get back in your cot!” so, you know, that’s not terribly useful to me, but it’s kind of funny that Jackson repeats it.
My favorite Mrs Taniaism was born of a Popsicle riot, when the kids started complaining about the color of free ice pop they’d been given on a special occasion. Mrs Tania commanded the room and said, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.” I recently confessed that Jackson had been sharing her sayings with us at home, and I planned to get this one tattooed somewhere on my body where Jackson can see it at all times. He thought her catchphrase was hilarious, and so I tried it out on him when he was complaining the next day, and it worked. I assume because it still reminds him of his beloved teacher, and not that the phrase has magical powers, but I don’t care. It’s mine now.
You get what you get and you don’t get upset.
Isn’t that just the best? It’s advice for life, really. It’s the new “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” There are a lot of adults who could stand to hear this shouted at them in an authoritative teacher voice.
Mrs Tania is gentle and kind, and Jackson has never repeated anything she’s said that I didn’t totally agree with. He has started quoting me to her, but I often suffer in the translation. She used a Spanish word for underwear when helping him get dressed, and he informed her that his mommy says we don’t wear (insert hip Spanish word), we wear underwear. So now I sound like a racist. If she would teach me the words, I would use them at home, but I am Spanish-impaired.
My husband has also suffered. One weekend he had to go in to the office and copy some documents for court and brought Jackson along, and Jackson then told us Daddy makes copies all day. So Daddy sat him down and told him he makes sure the bad guys stay in jail to keep America safe, and then Jackson told Mrs Tania his father was in jail. Robby has actually dropped the kids off and picked them up on occasion, so Mrs Tania seemed fairly confident my husband was not incarcerated, but I thought that was pretty hysterical. I tried to explain what had happened, but I couldn’t stop laughing.