On the scheduling of bathroom breaks

If you raised your hand to go to the bathroom in my fourth grade class with Mr. Woods, and Mr. Woods thought you had asked to go to the bathroom too many times, he would say, “Do you have a TB?” 

TB stood for “tiny bladder.” I’m sure many kids thought this was funny, but I lived in mortal fear of being asked whether I had a tiny bladder. For the entire year, I avoided going to the bathroom. 

This should’ve been fine. There was time to go to the bathroom at lunch hour. But did I ever remember to go to the bathroom at lunch hour? 

No. 

I spent my lunch hours playing Mary Poppins on the jungle gym. Then, I spent my afternoons wiggling in my desk because I desperately had to pee but couldn’t ask to go in case I was accused of having a tiny bladder. 

You would think in the years between fourth grade and now I would’ve matured sightly. You would think I could at least remember to go to the bathroom during lunch hour. But this week I spent four days giving writing workshops at the Richmond Children’s Arts Festival. And did I remember to go to the bathroom during my breaks? 

No. 

Most days, I remembered that I needed to go to the bathroom about five minutes after I drove away from the Richmond Public Library and started towards home. 

Despite my obvious lack of life skills and time management abilities, the arts festival was pretty amazing. Every year, the organizers bring in actors, magicians, musicians, artists, and writers to lead workshops for kids from across the district.

This year’s students were incredibly engaged and attentive. The only downside to the entire festival was that I really wanted to leave my own writing class and join the improv workshop next-door. But apparently it’s frowned upon to abandon your students. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to pee.

Festivus!

I spent last week doing writing workshops with students in grades four through seven, as part of Richmond’s Children’s Arts Festival.

Wow! What an event! School groups (masses of school groups) arrive each morning. They’re each assigned to two interactive workshops — and those include everything you can imagine. Meditation. Creativity through movement. Puppetry. Animation. Sculpture. In between classes, there were rainmakers and hats to create, magic to learn, things to paint… My only regret from the entire week was that I couldn’t sneak away to explore all the stations!

My workshop was all about survival stories. The students threw themselves into tales of shipwrecks, plane crashes, or even zombie apocalypses. (There was a literary point to it all somewhere, though I admit the cannibalism was a bit of a tangent.)

This is our lovely space at the Richmond Public Library, pre-workshop:

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And this is the post-creativity version:

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Those Richmond librarians are a brave, brave bunch for hosting this event. (And a gracious bunch, too. They even let fellow presenter Kallie George and I sneak into their lunchroom every afternoon for respite time.)

I walked up and down the library stairs about a hundred times in the course of the week, but I didn’t notice this quote until the very last day. It summed up the entire festival wonderfully.

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Thank you for having me, Children’s Arts Festival! (Next year, I’m going to disguise myself as a student and sneak into that animation class.)