Writer’s Workshop: Rocks In Your Mouth

2.) A blog post inspired by the word: misunderstood.

The other daycare workers were a bit disgusted by Kate because she always had a handful of rocks she kept in her mouth. I was the head teacher of the school-agers and Kate was next door with the four year olds and she was an altogether strange little child. If I had to describe her I would say she looked a bit like a baby Flamingo. A tiny little blond pixie head perched atop long, thin limbs.

She never spoke to anyone and people sort of quit trying and she became one of those, “Oh that’s just Kate” isms. She bopped around and followed the flock, sometimes hid under tables to pick at linoleum, and really kept to her quiet little self.

I’m sure she would have preferred us to just leave her be, but when you see a child sticking gravel in her mouth you feel like you should probably tell her to stop. So Kate would stop, or pretend to stop but really just duck behind the climber to be alone with her gravel.

When Kate graduated to my classroom I was determined to bring her out of her shell. I coaxed that baby flamingo out from under the table and I spoiled her rotten. Imagine my pleasure when she actually spoke WORDS to me. I was thrilled with my new friend even though her rock sucking habits completely grossed me out.

One day, after I had completely won her over, I finally asked her, “Kate? Why are you always putting rocks in your mouth?”

She shrugged, “Because I’m cleaning them.”

And the heavens opened and the angels sang.

She’s CLEANING them!

Of course she’s cleaning them, rocks are filthy…and all this time poor Kate had been completely misunderstood. She didn’t have a dirty habit, she was a cleaner!

Imagine how overwhelming it might be to look at a playground filled with dirty gravel…her work was never done and not appreciated nearly enough.

Now it’s your turn!

Mama's Losin' It

Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and come back to add your name to the link list below. Be sure to sign up with the actual post URL and not just your basic blog URL (click on the title of your post for that URL). For good comment karma try to comment on the three blogs above your name!!

The Prompts:

1.) A recent text exchange that made you laugh.
2.) A blog post inspired by the word: misunderstood.
3.) Talk about a time one of your siblings made you angry.
4.) What you’re most looking forward to (or dreading) this Summer.
5.) A list of 10 things every parent needs to survive Summer.


  1. says

    Awww. Little Kate reminds me of my 9yr old. She likes to lick things. Now I need to ask her if she is really cleaning them or not. (She is special needs, so it can be any number of things)

  2. says

    That is…cute? The poor thing must feel such pressure from all the work ahead. Someone might want to show her where the hose is!

  3. says

    I bet you had the cleanest rocks ever!

    I think it is wonderful that you were willing to let that little girl be herself. Too many times adults try to shame the more unique traits out of kids, and that is a shame.

  4. says

    As someone who used to stick rocks in her mouth, I completely understand! I’m sure I completed grossed out my poor mother when I was little.

  5. says

    Oh how we all should take that time to ask a very simple question of “why.”
    Those rocks were probably super shiny in the sections she could get to!

  6. says

    and maybe you shared with her that there are other ways to clean rocks? That’s pretty funny though. Good for you being there for here!

  7. says

    Definitely a misunderstood kid! It’s great that you didn’t give up on her and got her to open up :)

  8. says

    How many times have I felt like a rock cleaner?! More than I would care to count. Isn’t it amazing how a person’s perspective can completely change a situation? Great story.