Friday, September 01, 2006

Thank Heaven for four day weekends

I knew it would be different this time around. For a thousand different reasons, I knew that kindergarten would be different for Bear than it was for SugarPlum. First and foremost, they are two different people. Obviously. Boy and girl. Firstborn and middle child.

Just as I knew before he was born how different he would be than his sister, I knew that this school year would be different than any of SugarPlum's have been.

SugarPlum LOVED kindergarten. She has always loved school. And while she doesn't always enjoy her homework, she would rather DIE than not do her homework. She almost always strives to do her best. I don't think that we have ever really had any discipline issues with her at school - other than the occasional "talking when she should have been listening" sort of thing (which frankly was a relief because it showed that she IS a real kid and not a robot!). Parent/Teacher conferences have always been enjoyable because I get to hear what a delight she is and how they wish that they had a class full of SugarPlums.

Now Bear is in kindergarten. And let me begin by saying that he is, by no means, the polar opposite of his sister. Bear has been anticipating and looking forward to kindergarten all summer. And he does love it. He enjoys learning and playing and participating. He calls each of the children in his class "my friend." He thinks the world of his teachers. But homework? Oh, it is the bane of his existence.

When he is done with school for the day, he feels entitled to come home and play until supper. Which is pretty much how life has been for him for the last five years or so. The fact that he has homework to do just pisses him off. And it's not as if he has to type a dissertation or do calculus or quantum physics. He has to write his name six times. Oh. the humanity of it all! Actually, he has to trace. his. name. Seems he needs some work on those small motor skills. I know few boys who don't. And Wednesday night, in addition to the name tracing, he had to work on writing the letter 'A' and the word "apple." I thought he might have a stroke.

The other "issue" with Bear this week is that he has been having some "Self Control" problems. It seems she has been throwing rocks on the playground and *gasp* "Sticking his tongue out at other people" (which led me to wonder...wouldn't we all find it more troubling if he were sticking his tongue out at himself?). I taught kindergarten. I know that self-control is a big deal and something that kids need to get a grip on before first grade. I have absolutely no issues with the teacher taking away his sticker for these infractions. Bear and I talked about it and I made it clear that this was unacceptable behavior. And I signed his conduct folder for the day and put it in his backpack.

And then left his backpack at home in the morning.

I will take some of the blame for this because I was yelling at everyone to get their butts out to the car already while I filled his water bottle. And the water bottle goes in the backpack...and you see how that played out, right?

So I walked him into class and told the teacher that we made it out of the house without his backpack and that I would bring it back up to the school shortly. I made it clear that I am usually not one to "rescue" my children from predicaments like that, but since I did carry most of the blame for this one I would take care of it. And then the teacher said something about how they need to learn to be responsible for their things and if he didn't have his folder that her wouldn't get his conduct sticker today and that she had TOLD him that if he didn't have his sticker he wouldn't get to choose from the treasure box.

And I felt my heart break a little. Because something about the tone of her voice or some other...intangible that told me that she doesn't really think as much of my sweet Bear as I do. She seemed exasperated or annoyed or something. But there was this huge part of me that wanted to go over and grab him and hug and kiss him a little extra and tell him that no matter what, I think he wonderful and perfect and we could work on all of his other "stuff" together.

I don't know, I am probably reading WAY too much into what Mrs. Kindergarten said. And I realize that nobody is going to love my son the way I do. But I just hate to imagine that any of my kids might be thought of as "that kid." Probably because I was a teacher and "that kid" was the one who aggravated the crap out of me. And Bear is just NOT "that kid." He is such a sweet, loving, compassionate, enthusiastic little boy. He loves everybody and is convinced that everybody loves him. Not in a narcissistic way, but just in that sweet, naive way that kids are when the world hasn't shown them anything different. And I am just hoping and praying that this teacher sees past the little misbehaviors to the precious boy that Bear is. I know, I know I sound like "that mom" now.

When I picked him up, he was in a good mood and seemed to have had a good day. I asked Mrs. Kindergarten if he had a better day and she said, "It was some better. He just needs to get a feel for the rules and boundaries. He'll be fine!" Which made me feel a little less weepy. Hopefully next week will be less...dramatic.

And, for the record? He got a lollipop from the treasure box yesterday.

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