Thursday, January 27, 2011

The power of words.

For a book nerd like myself, it's pretty exciting to watch your kid learn to read and write. I admit it, I get a thrill when Jordan picks up a book. There are times, I actually catch him in his room reading (gasp!) He started out this year with a good grasp on basic sight words; and after lots of practice with the "Bob books" series, he was pretty comfortable with basic kid books. Since September, he's come along quite well; and I think the curriculum at his school is providing a good challenge for him both in and out of the classroom.

One of the things I'm doing this semester is volunteering in his classroom weekly for "literacy time." This is when parents come in and spend a half hour listening to several students in the class read to them one-on-one. Number one, it's incredibly cool watching your kid's face light up when he sees you walk into the classroom. (It sure beats the looks I get from him on a routine basis at home.)

Secondly, listening to him and other kids read is instructional for me as a parent. There's such a spectrum regarding the reading ability of kids at this age. Not only do I get to see how other kids read; I'm also reminded of basic Parenting 101. That is - other kids also don't pay attention, fiddle on their chairs, get distracted by things that catch their eye, ask you a millions of questions about anything and everything; and don't always follow instructions the way you'd like them to.

Jordan's manual above - "My Own Cookie Book" came home one afternoon.

This is one cookie recipe I'd like to borrow.

Here's the step-by-step guide:


1. Get the ingredients
2. Melt the butter.
3. Crack 2 eggs
4. Pour in cookie mix.
5. Stir.
6. Put them in the pan.
7. Put them in the oven.
8. Eat them.

Obviously, number 8 is my favorite. Look out Martha Stewart!

These are not the cookies you were looking for. Move along.

Sorry. Dumb Star Wars humor. I can't help it, I'm surrounded by it lately.

These are Snickerdoodles, which I make occasionally because doing so satisfies my burning desire to bake without tempting me down the path of evil. Since I don't crave them, I don't eat them. See how that works? They are very good though if basic sugar cookies enveloped in cinnamon and drowning in butter is your kinda thing.

And for some of us, it is.

Words can be enjoyed. They can also be healing. I think.

This is a letter of apology, err "card" made by a student in Jordan's class. He was apologizing for pushing Jordan during recess and causing him to fall on the concrete and scrape his arm. Jordan told me about it that afternoon; and my initial reaction to it was to brush it off as basic playground scrapes. Nothing to worry about.

In hindsight, I wish I hadn't taken such a dismissive tone with Jordan. It came back to haunt me. Jordan mentioned the scab in conversation several times, mentioned the name of the child responsible, mentioned not liking him, mentioned not wanting him to come to his birthday party, etc.

Finally, he caught my attention one night. While playing with Mina, some trouble ensued. Jordan pushed her. She fell. She cried. I pulled him aside and said, "we don't hit. We just do not do that in this house." I was calm, it wasn't anything out of the ordinary. But Jordan reacted very strongly.

Holding up his arm, with the scab still visible, he shouted, "Why is it ok to push me? Look!! Here!"

And I was speechless.

I thought about it for awhile. I had already had an appointment scheduled with his teacher to talk about other matters, but I thought this should take precedence. So, I sent her an email and asked that we talk about this incident as well, apologizing because it had occurred over a week prior.

The meeting was ok. I wasn't thrilled with it. But I did appreciate her encouragement in bringing it to her attention so that further steps could be taken down the road, if necessary. I mean, look - the kid who did it is 5, maybe 6. It's too early to start labelling kids "bully" or whatever. But, there has to be some way of speaking to a teacher about a kid who has hurt your son. And that was the bottom line for me. Yet, it felt a bit like the teacher defended the child who pushed Jordan, in that she said she spoke to him about it and he "didn't remember" anything about it. Also, since no one else witnessed it, there wasn't much she could say to him about it.

I got a little bit frustrated at that point. Apart from the scab, all the proof I had, was Jordan's own word. And his reaction. And his repeated insistence on who was responsible. I explained that. I also said that I wasn't happy with the way she expected Jordan to bare the responsibility at all times for telling the teacher if someone hurts him. I think at this age, there needs to be a little more supervision of the playground.

But I agreed that going forward, I would make it very clear to Jordan that he needed to say something to someone that day. Of course, he did say something - to me; and I dismissed it. And I told the teacher that. To her credit, she did finally mention that this child has had one other incident involving another student. But he's also been a victim of similar behavior by others. So she will take note of this for the future.

I was glad to see the note from the student in Jordan's school pouch. He hasn't mentioned his name since then. I hope that's the end of it.
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