Standardised testing. The joy of it. At the beginning of the school year, just a week or two into year three, Bear first expressed his anxiety about NAPLAN. As it came closer, their class did lots of preparation (one of the things I dislike about it – learning how to complete the test rather than being tested on what they’ve learnt). We chatted about it, and did some short practice tests at home. The week before, I was talking to him about it, waving my hands around to demonstrate how big his round brain was and how small the square box of NAPLAN was, when I hit upon an analogy that has become part of our family vernacular. “Ideas are like rabbits…” (Insert a mental image of me whipping my head back and forth going “rabbit! Rabbit!”) “…and rabbits don’t like boxes”. And just like that, our little rabbit chaser relaxed and knew exactly how not important these tests were.
The first day, I slipped a mintie & some smarties into a small cello bag, and scribbled him a note on a letterpress mini note card I had left over, reminding him he had it under control, and his rabbits don’t like boxes. Day two was a sticky note, a rabbit page marker, and some smarties. The third and final day, he had been at Nanny & Poppy’s house the night before, and I snuck Nanny the final little surprise.
Using some scraps of paper, a tag and a gold sharpie, I made my boy a tag, wrote him a note on the back, and used gold bakers twine to tie it to a Lindt ball. It came home in his lunch box (the tag, not the chocolate, more’s the pity), and after dumping the multiple containers and small scraps of lunch
all over the bench and floor in the sink, he collected up the card, gave me a hug, and went to stash his “new bookmark” in his drawer. My boy has some mighty big rabbits to chase, and if 15 minutes of ignoring the housework gives him the encouragement to follow them down the rabbit hole into wonderland, I’ll make him a drawer full of tags.
To rabbits, and the dreams they inspire. May we always be brave enough to take a chance on them.