There’s a “Hole” in the Bottom of the Sea

My plan was to share these anecdotes from my time at Saint James one a week for the next six weeks counting down to the end of the school year, and the end of my time here at Saint James.

I’m too impatient for that. I want to share them now, and if last school year taught me anything, it’s that we can never plan on tomorrow. We don’t know what’s going to happen.

I’m just going to share these stories as I get to them. There could be six or there could be more depending on what I remember.

The first story took place during my first year here, back in 2012. Today, we’re going to fast-forward to this school year, to just a few months ago.

Let me tell you. I’ve seen some things as a children’s librarian. I’ve had a kid throw up in the middle of a story time. I’ve seen gushing nosebleeds while we were singing a song. Teeth have fallen out while I was sharing a story. I’ve had a kid come to the story time rug without pants. I’ve always taken pride in the fact that I could deal with the issue in the moment and carry on like a professional. The show must go on and all that, right? I’m really good at carrying on.

Until the time I couldn’t.

The star of today’s story is the youngest of my four, Theodora. She is a funny little four year old with lots of personality. She’s always trying to keep up with her big brother and sisters, and she is super smart.

This was her first year at Saint James, and she loves library time. Every Friday morning, when she first wakes up, she greets me with, “It’s library day!” She’s always giving me suggestions on what book to read and what songs she thinks her class will like.

On this particular Friday, we were singing “There’s a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea.”

I always do this song with my felt board. I start out with a big black hole, and as the song progresses, I add the log and the frog and all of that.

(If you really must hear it for yourself I did a little ukulele tutorial a while back.)

So I put the big black hole on the board, and asked the class. Does anyone know what this is?

Theo, who very much knew what it was, but wanted to be funny yelled out, “IT”S A BUTTHOLE!”

I don’t know if her mask muffled what she said, but I heard her clearly because I’m her dad, or what, but her class did not react at all to what she said. It was almost like they didn’t hear her.

Friends, let me tell you. I did hear her, and I lost it.

I tried to carry on. I tried to sing the entire song, but every time I got to the word “hole.” I would start giggling uncontrollably and couldn’t finish the line.

I thought that after I got through the song, I would be ok.

I wasn’t.

I remember clearly the book I was reading to the class. It was this one. No holes, butts or anything like that to trigger the giggling, so I thought it would be fine.

I wasn’t even a few words in before I started losing it again. The class assistant knew what I was laughing at and she was working hard to keep a straight face. Seeing her struggle only made it worse for me.

It was a cycle. I would start laughing, compose myself, and then see her face or Theo’s face (who was still grinning at me) and I would start laughing all over again.

The rest of the class was just staring at me like I had lost my mind.

I don’t know how I did it, but somehow I got through that book.

I have retired that song for the time being, though. I don’t think I will ever be able to sing it with a straight face again.

Published by Benji

I am an elementary school librarian in Montgomery, AL.

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