You Say Playdough, I say Plato

I don’t hate Plato.

But, Sweetgirl thinks I do.

This misunderstanding all came about because of a discussion that Sweetman and I were desperately trying to have over pancakes this past weekend.

Unfortunately, we forget that little ears, though they may be engaged in another activity entirely, are always listening.

And, oftentimes, misconstruing.

I was innocently sharing about a radio segment that I had recently heard about an intriguing new book, titled “Plato at the Googleplex” by Rebecca Goldstein. I immediately loved the premise (Plate goes on a multicity speaking tour in the 21st century). But I loved, even more, the interviewers take on how Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is such an apt description of our current society’s fascination with social media – to the exclusion of face-to-face interactions. (If your eyes didn’t just glaze over – we really ARE meant to be the best of friends!)

Sweetman immediately jumped in to share of an article that he’d recently read in The Atlantic, titled  “Why I Teach Plato to Plumbers”. If the above book didn’t hook me, this article definitely would have! The author,  currently a Community College Professor, was retelling about a letter he received from a former student, who was now a factory worker. The professor had used one little quote from Schopenhauer, during one of his courses. The student was so struck by it, that he went in search of it. By reading each and every one of Schopenhauer’s books! Essentially, the student was thanking the teacher for introducing him to Schopenhauer. Even though, the class the author taught was on Plato.

It served to remind me of the great power each teacher holds to shape thinking.

Whether at Harvard, or the local community college.

Or, in my child’s Kindergarten classroom.

And so, as Sweetgirl’s Kindergarten teacher was sharing about how Sweetgirl seems smitten with any opportunity to play with playdough, I had to explain, again, how I detest playdough. I keep it well-hidden in our home.  I only bring it out in case of extreme emergency. I can’t even think of an emergency that extreme. But, that I do, indeed abhor it, and so she only plays with it if I’m able to stand at the ready with a vacuum in one hand and a broom and dustpan in the other.

True story.

Back to our breakfast conversation, when Sweetgirl asked why we were talking about playdough, I tried to explain Plato to a six year old.

I quickly realized that is above my pay grade.

I left it at, “Plato was a wise person who lived a long time ago. PlayDOUGH is an awful thing that mama lets you play with once in a while.”

Philosophical simplification at it’s very best.

“But, why do you hate Plato, Mama?”

“I don’t” I foolishly answered.

“Can I play with it when we get home, then” she asked.

Well played, child.

I’d rather dig up Plato.

Yes indeedy.

Dragon Breath

One of the “life skills” we’re working on around here with both kidlets, but most especially with Sweetboy,  is to consistently brush their fangs in the morning.  Without the aid of so much toothpaste and so little actual brushing, my Sweetchildren have some major dragon breath.  I suppose all kiddos do; but it sure makes it extra challenging, with jimmies on top, to kiss and snuggle little people with said dragon breath, doesn’t it?  Especially at 5:50 in the morning.

You know it’s gotten bad when the smallest, youngest, most inexperienced in the ways of the world’s hygiene habits informs her brother of the following: “Ewww, brudder, you got stinky breath. Don’t kiss me!”  This causes much distress for the brother, as he adores his little sister and would smother her with dragon-breath kisses if someone didn’t intervene.  What causes this former teacher distress is that I can’t seem to get Sweetgirl to shake the word “got” in inappropriate places; as in, ‘You got…”,  “I got to go….”.  Alas…

It goes without saying, then, that I really do hope they catch this sooner rather than later.  The potency of their unbrushed fangs can about knock a mama out!  Oh, yes indeedy, it can.  Heaven help me if I’m ever found passed out in my home and I have to give Dragon Breath as an explanation for why I needed smelling salts.

So, what do you do to teach your little dragons to brush their fangs?  Any games you use?  Any special “equipment” (props)? Do tell, please!