Whenever possible, I like to use the GG Sprinkles forum for more than entertainment. I like to educate a bit or, in the case of this episode, eliminate a bit of fear. When I was a little girl, trips to our dentist—the only one in our little Tennessee town—were often not pleasant experiences. But things have changed a great deal since then. There are now pediatric dentists and family dentists who are ready and willing to work with little ones to provide the best experience possible. In the long run, if the dentist and his team can make a child’s visit as pleasant as possible, that would have to make their jobs a tad easier.
I decided to enlist the assistance of my not-so-willing dog, Gracie, to help make the point. The poem that I wrote was about a typical trip to the dentist. I had actually had my own 6-month checkup the previous week, which gave me the idea for this topic, so I took the opportunity to talk to the friendly dental assistant about how they work with children. The poem is written more as if a child is speaking, as many of my Sprinkles poems are. That made it more fun to write, for sure. I took some pictures of the staff and even of me in the dentist’s chair.
I pulled out Gracie’s toothbrush, doggie toothpaste, and breath drops, as well as my own toothbrush. After I read my poem, I grabbed Gracie and demonstrated how the dentist puts a covering on your chest to keep your shirt dry and then proceeded to brush Gracie’s teeth. Sort of. She wasn’t inclined to cooperate fully, but we did our best. And I knew the kids would like the humor of trying to brush a dog’s teeth.
Hopefully the upbeat message made the point that the dentist isn’t someone to fear, that he/she is there to help make a sore tooth better and keep our teeth clean and healthy. And Gracie is speaking to me again. Finally. ❤️
I’m a huge believer in two things: the wisdom and potential of our children and the importance of poetry and imagination in their lives and development. My teaching background is at the high school level, but my methods in the classroom ran high in interaction and whimsy, at least as much whimsy as preparation for state testing allowed. I have four young grandchildren, and I nannied a little boy for over four years from infancy, so I like to think I know children pretty well. And I used poetry to teach and inspire no matter what ages I was called to teach. Poetry takes very big ideas and boils them down to nuggets of wisdom more easily understood. And then there’s the rhyme, such a valuable asset to pre-reading and a great hook to pull the little ones into the poetry itself. The rhythm, cadence, and yes, the rhyme, all have value for kids. Even if the full meaning of the words eludes them a little, there is value in what they do process.
I have written and published two books of essays and poetry for teachers, but my greater joy came in writing poetry for children. I began a book of children’s poetry the day my first grandchild Samantha was born and fourteen years later I continue to add to it. I entitled it A Duck in the Sky, which comes from a discussion we had with Sam when she was just a toddler. We were talking about the meaning of life and Sam assured us that the meaning of life was, in fact, a duck in the sky. Fair enough, and a very good title. I never published my children’s book, although that will happen. But in the meantime came Covid and quarantine. I wanted to contribute something, to help entertain young children stuck at home, even if for only a few minutes at a time. So GG Sprinkles was born, someone who reads poetry and entertains with props, demonstrations, etc. Our videos began on a GG Sprinkles Facebook page, and shortly after that became a GG Sprinkles YouTube channel.
So we now have quite a few videos available and I continue to write poetry. I have learned a great deal about a lot of topics: fairies, zebras, angels, octopuses, birds, superheroes, blanket forts, dragons, space, buried treasure, planets, burping, puppets, trains, unicorns, kites, magic wands, and so much more. It has been a pure joy to do this for the kids. And, of course, I’m learning so much along the way. We intend to keep the videos coming as long as the poetry comes and the kids and parents are interested. We’d be delighted to have you come along with us as we explore new topics poetically and just have some fun. GG Sprinkles welcomes you to any of the videos you’d like to watch and further thoughts here on my blog. Enjoy!
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