Category Archives: school

School Daze

I love playing school with my son.  I’m good at it.  After all, I learned how to be a good student at the hands of my niece.  When Alyssa was three or four years old, she’d grab my hand the very second I walked in her front door and she’d lead me down the hall to her bedroom.  Once there she’d tell me where to sit and what to do, and so for the most part, playing school involved nothing more than sitting and listening.  Occasionally I’d have to trouble myself to raise my hand to ask permission to use the bathroom, and once in a rare while Alyssa would line the class up — the class being me and about a dozen invisible classmates — and she would march us down the hallway, single file, on a field trip to the kitchen.  There was this one kid, his name was Grumpy Boy, who was always in trouble for one thing or another.  Stepping out of line, not raising his hand, not taking turns, etc… He was sent to the principal’s office quite often.  Me? Well, I was the teacher’s pet.

Eventually Alyssa started school for real, and somewhere between Kindergarten and 1st grade she lost interest in playing school.  I guess the reality of attending school on a daily basis diminished her desire to think about it on the weekends.  Probably not unlike my unwillingness to drive downtown to visit the museums on weekends.  I work in the city so choosing to go all the way back there on a Saturday or Sunday seems unwise, almost like I never left the office at all.

But now that my son has half a year of real Kindergarten under his belt, he’s taken a sudden interest in playing school at home.  I admit that I absolutely love this.  Not only is this a game I understand, but it means that for once, the kid is not talking about Star Wars!  My husband isn’t as enchanted by this game as I am.  But that is probably because it’s obvious that once again, I am the teacher’s pet.  And for whatever reason, my husband is the real life version of my niece’s Grumpy Boy. 

“That’s it,” Snags, ahem, Mr. Scott, says, “I am flipping your card.”

“For what?”  My husband asks, incredulous.  “I didn’t do anything!”

“Well, now you have to go to the principal’s office for back talking me.  Actually, you’re expelled,” says Mr. Scott.  “Leave.  Leave now,” he insists as he points the way.

And then Mr. Scott sits down next to me and says very quietly, “Belle, you are being very good today.  Thank you for being such a good listener.”  And I just smile and sit there.  That’s all I have to do.  It’s the easiest game in the world, just sitting.  The only game that might be better is dead fish, where you lie on the floor and remain as still as possible.  That’s great because you get to lay down, and if I’m lucky and lie still long enough, someone is bound to fall asleep.  And naps are good for everyone.

A minute later Mr. Scott is calling my husband back to school.  His expulsion is over.  His card is flipped back to green.  He gets another chance.

The good will doesn’t last long, however.  Once Mr. Scott starts reading the lunch menu and we place our orders, my husband is in trouble yet again.  Even though Mr. Scott says we are in night school (because we are tired children who like to sleep during the day), we still have lunch (because, naturally, we are asleep when real lunch time would roll around).  I choose fried steak and macaroni and cheese from the menu because the sardine sandwich on white bread makes me gag just thinking about it.  My husband chooses the steak too, but that gets him in trouble.

“You can’t order the same food as Belle,” Mr. Scott says.

“Why not?” My husband asks, beginning to sound defensive because he knows where this is going. 

“Because, I talked to your parents and they said you do this all the time. They asked me not to let you do that so you have to order something else.” 

And sure enough, my husband is expelled again.

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Filed under humor, play, school, Snags

And Then She Said

And then she said, “Your son is successful in all the areas here, he doesn’t need improvement in any of them.  Let me show you some of his work and give you some examples of what I am talking about…”

She pulled out the spelling test. “Your son,” she said, “was the only child in the entire class who knew how to spell every sight word we’ve learned so far.”

“Look at his writing,” she said, as she pulled out another sheet.  “And look here,” she pointed.  “He knows how to use punctuation marks!  I can talk about something one day and the next day he is incorporating it into his writing.  Because I know he is listening, it is easy for me to sneak in more learning.  I can write a question on the board and casually mention to the class that this is a question mark and we use it when we ask a question, and the next day your son is using question marks appropriately in his writing.  None of the other children are doing this.” 

“And here,” she pointed again, “he is using QUOTATION MARKS!  I talked about them just the other day and the next day he was trying them out!” 

“I LOVE having him in my class,” she said.  “I just get so excited because I see he is learning things and I can just slip new concepts in, like punctuation marks, and I know that he at least, will pick up on them.  We don’t usually teach punctuation marks in Kindergarten but it’s an easy thing for me to slip in there and your son picks up on it and has something new to think about and practice using.”

“In math, he is so advanced I’ve arranged to meet with the math enrichment teacher to have her develop a special math program for him so we can continue to meet his needs and so he won’t be bored.  It will be special, just for him, and only one or two other children in the entire Kindergarten.”

“The other children,” she went on, “look up to him and go to you son for help on things.  In fact, just the other day a bunch of them went up to him on the playground to get him to solve a problem for them.  They had been playing something and had some kind of problem and one of them said “Snags can help us solve this!”  And the children all agreed, so off they went to find him.  He has lots of friends here. He gets along with everyone.  He likes to help others.”

“He follows the rules, he is responsible. I can always count on him to listen and do what I have asked.  I don’t have to repeat myself.”

Right up until that last sentence I had been nodding my head and smiling encouragingly.  Tell me more! I thought. Go on, brag up my kid!  I thought.  I mean, I knew he was pretty smart.  We haven’t done any IQ tests or anything, but compared to some of the kids he plays with whom I can’t even understand, who don’t know their shapes or their colors or how to count to ten, well, he just seemed pretty smart to me.  He can count up to 200, and he uses words like apparently and evidently and vegetation and possibility and perhaps.

But then she said “He follows the rules…I can always count on him to listen and do what I have asked.  I don’t have to repeat myself…” and I got such a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.  She can’t be talking about my kid, I thought.  Certainly not.  Listening?  Not having to repeat herself?  If she’s got this part confused with some other child, then maybe all the smarty pants talk was about another kid as well…

Because right before the babysitter knocked on the door so my husband and I could go to the parent-teacher conference, I had to take the LEGOS away for misbehavior.  For not listening.  For not following the rules.  Get a bath without arguing.  Brush your teeth and get your pajamas on…  “Okay, fine then.  I am taking away the LEGOS!”

But she said she was talking about my kid. 

So I invited her to come live with us.

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Filed under humor, Kindergarten, life, parent teacher conference, school, smart, Snags

My Bad

I jammed up the elementary school’s traffic circle this morning.  And I’m not sure, but I think the traffic circle parent police and the vice-principal may have taken down my license number.  So I expect a call sometime later today, if not an actual visit from the crossing guard and a real state policeman, possibly banning me from the circle forever.  They can do that you know.

But it’s not my fault.  Not really.  I mean, normally I walk Snags to school each morning.  The cold front that the weatherman was calling for was supposed to move through over night and dump all its marble size raindrops then.  And it did, at least some of it.  I mean, I heard the thunder and the rain last night.  It started right when I started watching The Office, and at the exact moment when Snags got out of bed crying that he’d hurt himself, scratched his eye. 

That turned out to be his eye lid, but one look at his claw like fingernails convinced me he’d be a bloody mess by morning if I didn’t do something right then.  So I trimmed his nails, cleaned off his eyelid scratch, and sent him back to bed amid the rain and thunder and my trying to catch all of the funniness that is The Office.

This morning was supposed to dawn clear and bright and chilly, but I take it the weather Gods didn’t get that notice from the weather man at our local television station.  Because instead, the sky was that odd blue color, the one somewhere between an enthusiastic cobalt and a depressing gray, the one that means it might be getting ready to rain, hard.  Or it might simply be the old rain burning away from the sun behind it.  And only a little more time will reveal what is to be…

I kept looking out the window, and as luck would have it, everything was fine until the very. last. second.  And then the sky split open. 

But I’m flexible, so I said to Snags, “Get in the car.  I’m driving you to school.”  And Snags complained.  He wanted to walk.  I would have walked, really, I would have.  But I promised a neighbor friend who is out of town on a cruise vacation, that I would walk her son to school each morning, leaving her mother-in-law babysitter to tend to my friend’s young twins in the morning without having to cart them up to school and back like my friend usually does.

I figured two small boys with backpacks, lunch bags, and umbrellas might not be the thing to mix with a downpour and a deadline.  School has a definite starting time, and puddles are the devils snare to that. 

So I picked my neighbor’s son up and in less than 2 minutes we had pulled into the school’s traffic circle.  I followed the rules, I followed the cars and stopped where I was supposed to.  But then I had to get out of my car to help the boys out.  The doors have to be opened by hand, they don’t glide away like those on all the minivans that were surrounding me. One door has a child lock on it so Snags couldn’t open it even if he wanted to.  The other, well, that door would have opened into the traffic.  So I got out and opened Snags’ door to let the boys out onto the sidewalk. 

Only they are five, in Kindergarten, and not fast.  Not fast like the 3rd and 4th graders hopping out of the cars in front of us.  So by the time I got them out of the car and back into their backpacks and put their umbrellas up and gave Snags a kiss, and hopped back into my car, I was the ONLY car left in the circle.  All the cars that had been in front of me had vanished.  But all the world was behind me waiting, waiting, waiting to pull in.

That’s when I noticed the looks.  The disdain.  The shaking of heads.  You’d have thought I was sitting there reading a map for 20 minutes, or talking on my cell phone and had missed the green light.  But honestly, when I got home and looked at the clock, I had been gone for a grand total of 6 minutes.  So I couldn’t have jammed up the traffic circle for too long.  But apparently, jamming it up at all is a CRIME. 

So I am off to dig out the TRAFFIC CIRCLE RULES paper.  The one I didn’t fully read when it came home because I didn’t expect to be driving Snags to school.  It’s not MY fault it started raining this morning. And I can tell you one thing…  If I end up going to jail for this, the weather man, he’s going down with me.

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Filed under humor, life, school, traffic, weather