So yesterday was Hat Day to celebrate Dr. Seuss and Read Across America Day at our school.
Did you celebrate? Did you dress up? I wore my giant red and white striped ‘Cat in the Hat’ hat, and it was very successful. I was noticed all day by kids who said, “I like your hat” to me as we passed by each other in the hallway. Never before had they spoken a word to me. But it opened up a dialogue, a smile, a “Thanks!” Colleagues who usually grunt at me each day, said “Nice hat!” Refreshing, I tell ya.
I think dressing up along with the kids is a really important way to connect with them, to show allegiance, community, humor, lightness, joy. My first grade daughter was so excited to dress up this morning, she could hardly sleep last night.
“Mama! I don’t have a tail or black tights!” she declared upon waking. Miraculously I was supposed to wave my wand and bippedy -boppidy boo- poof! Create a cat costume at 6:30? Instead we compromised. I got out some markers from her art jar, and I drew whiskers and a black nose on her perfect little face. She grabbed a pink marker, (“It’s actually MAGENTA, Mom!”) and made her lips pop with a burst of color. I glanced back at my little cat in the rear view mirror on the way to school. You would have thought it was her birthday. She was SO excited to see her little cat friends on the playground. Adorable. Contagious. Hopeful.
My point is, dressing up at school makes a difference. I always dread it and feel silly when I participate, but then I run into that one kid who acknowledges that I’m cool for dressing up, and I’ve got a spring in my step, just like my first grader. Dr. Seuss was like that too, right? He was always reconnecting grumpy grown-ups to their lighter, more childish side. Anyway, I’m glad I put on the hat yesterday.