Wednesday, February 9, 2011

This Kid, I Just Don't Know

When I arrived at the door of Hank's preschool classroom on Thursday, the teacher said, "We had an incident today."

An incident?  To me this word is reserved for two situations: there was a radiation leak at a nuclear power plant or somebody pooped in his pants.  I stood there praying it wasn't the second thing.

I steeled myself and asked, "Oh, what was that?"

In hushed tones, she told me that during lunch, Hank had figured out that he could blow on his blueberries and make them roll all over the table.  I'm thinking, okay, so this incident involves fruit, good.  Nobody is missing an earlobe or anything.

So he was blowing his blueberries around all over the table, into the other children's food and onto the floor.  Miss Chris asked him to stop.  Apparently he ignored her and kept working on the blueberry dispersal project.  She asked him to stop again, at least once.  I'm not sure how he responded to her, but he didn't quit with the blueberries.

Now, I would have gathered up those berries and taken them away.  End of problem. But she escalated in a different direction.  She couldn't put him in time out because Hank broke time out last week.  I gather that the teachers wanted him to leave the kitchen center and come to the writing center to do table work, and he didn't want to, and they threatened time out, and he eagerly took them up on it, preferring to relax in the armchair than to practice writing his letters.

So she didn't think time out was an option, I suppose. Faced with his recalcitrance over the blueberry issue, she said, "Let's go down to the office and see what they have to say about this."  Whoa.

Yet Hank, as she described to me, bounced up happily and went with her, showing no shamefacedness, so she told him, "Hank, this isn't something to be happy about."  And do you know what that child said?

He shrugged and said, "I don't care, my mama loves me no matter what." 

Stinker!

I had such a hard time not laughing when she told me that.  I was of two minds. One mind thought, "Oh you priceless child! If you want to rumble with these teachers, we will go in together, buddy."  The other mind thought, hmm, since I can't expect anyone else to find him as charming as I do, we better fix that little 'tude.

I am so, so glad that he has gotten the message that we will love him no matter what, but I think he thinks he's discovered a loophole.

This was coming on the heels of a teacher conference I had last week, where I found out that Hank is the youngest boy in the class, and one of the youngest kids.  He won't be five 'til June, but several of the kids are turning six this spring.  I was surprised, it's supposed to be a fours' class.  I think he has little interest in the writing and table work they want them to do--a lot of it is not age-appropriate for four year-olds.  He just wants to do the fun parts.  Still, it is not like him to be defiant, so Matt and I jerked a knot in that, figuratively speaking.

It still makes me want to laugh and high-five him, though.

26 comments:

Amy said...

Can I just say, I busted out laughing at this? Loophole, indeed. Hank, you da dude!! (And just so's you know, I'm still playing matchmaker with him & my sweet Kira. Who loves her some blueberries. And would, I suspect, have a FINE appreciation for someone who could navigate them around the table sans hands.)

Roving Lemon said...

Oh, my. So, how did you jerk a knot in it? We've got a bit of a 'tude problem ourselves at the moment and I'm looking for ideas.

mamacita said...

Four-year-old enjoys playing with food. Film at 11. [For realz, people -- I could write a book about inappropriate expectations at preschool.]

Amy said...

Mom and Dad told me this story earlier today--it is priceless! "Mama loves me", indeed! Yeah I think they escalated it a bit far, as Dad pointed out, what's left after the principal's office.

That Hank! I love that little dude. Who wouldn't find him totally charming?

Becky said...

Mamacita, I know! When the teacher told me about the blueberries, I thought, "Sounds pretty fun."

Amy, I am glad that Kira would appreciate his unique talents!

Lemon, I started on him as soon as I got him in the car. I asked him to tell me what had happened, which he was quite willing to--still total aplomb at this point--and I told him that yes, I DID love him no matter what but it did not make me happy to hear that he didn't mind the teacher. I said that was unacceptable and he needed to listen to the teacher and do what she said, etc.

By then his lip was poking out and he was feeling the weight of his error. Matt talked to him on the same theme. He gave the kids the whole spiel about how everybody in the family has a job, and when Hank's at school his job is to get along in the classroom, even if they ask him to do work he doesn't like or that's hard, it makes us happy when he tries.

Then I told him that if I got a good report on his behavior all four days this week, we would go to Target and buy a little treat. He's been reminding me/counting down every single day. It's definitely stayed in the forefront of his mind.

This post might make him sound like a problem kid in the classroom, but these were really isolated things.

Tomorrow I'll tell y'all about the doghouse that Laura is in--still stemming from that dang sleepover!

Kelly said...

Linc came home and told me this story. I died laughing!

Elizabeth said...

That is just priceless! And there's nothing wrong with a mama that "defends" her son, particularly when he's FOUR YEARS OLD.

delaine said...

Okay, I gotta say, as a long time teacher, that the teacher went overboard. Hank was exploring , and it happened to be with food. No big whoop. I think she could have scooped them up for him and laughed in doing so. Then by making some redirecting comment , Hank would have been on to the next thing. He's so stinking funny and cool about the whole going-to-the-office shtick. You must be touched that he is so sure of your love. And that is as it should be. I love his confidence.

A Day That is Dessert said...

That Hank, he's a smart boy. I love him.

Marie said...

Guess I have learned a lot from your parents over the years because
I totally agree with your Mom on this.I would have scooped them up and moved on and tried not to crack up laughing! He is a real charmer!

Veronica said...

That kid is awesome. Blowing on blueberries sounds like perfectly appropriate "table work" for a four year-old, if you ask me. Lessons to be learned in cause and effect, gravity, how to create your own paint to draw with, etc. Fun! And, you're right, if she didn't want him to be learning those lessons, take away the blueberries, redirect, problem solved.

Amy said...

I totally agree with all y'all. Though I will say, as a mom to small, active, and of course charmingly precocious children, I have overreacted like this many, many times. Actually, probably worse than that. Some days, you just reach your limit and it's like, quit learning about the world and eat your dang lunch.

Of course, this may well be why I am not a childcare professional.

Michele R said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michele R said...

I'm still thinking about how you packed him blueberries for lunch. So simple and so good for him.
Not that this has to do with anything, but my kids had been to several preschool/daycare/in-home care scenarios in their pre k-12 lives, and the only place I did not like was the 3-hour/day at a church of which everyone in the community raved.
Also I am left wondering if everyone will soon be starting their kids at school a year later so that every class will have older kids and shift everything. My Youngest went to a "learning center" in which they they tried to have those older kids separate. (and yet it all evens out when they get a little older).

I think think those teachers need a wake-up call in what merits a visit to the office.

Elle said...

OMG, daily confrontations about imaginary problems are exactly the reason our son dropped out of preschool & never went back. I think we reached our limit the day the teacher called me to tell me about how he barked like a dog, yk, during free play.

I remember thinking, "I sign a check for $500 every month so you can call me & tattle on a 3.5-year-old making animal noises? Really?"

I certainly do not mean to imply that I think everyone who pursues the honorable vocation of education is a dope, but after meeting two "high-end" preschools-full, I did not want to see more. On the other hand, my kid's a delinquent now, so maybe I should have gotten him used to the bit + bridle when he was smaller & more malleable.

But allow me to put my projector away & say OMG, Becky! Those must have been some really fresh blueberries to roll around from blowing! Maybe some Craisins from now on. [winking]

janimal said...

Hank is awesome.

I would be SO proud if my daughter said something like that one day.....

Jenni said...

I actually had a laugh out loud moment with that one, Becky. I finally understand why people sometimes feel the urge to type "lol." That kid is too funny.

And, I agree, writing letters is a little advanced for a four-year-old. Maybe towards the end of the school year, but it's nursery school. He's there to learn how to be in school - how to wait in line, how to take turns, how to raise his hand, how to listen to the teacher (HA!!) - not how to write letters. Give the kid a break and let him play kitchen. They should be doing mostly free play at Hank's age.

Keely said...

Ha! Xander has a similar attitude most of the time. If he doesn't see the point in something, he just won't do it. It doesn't matter what you threaten or cajole or time-out. Which, as someone said, can be really frustrating and I've overreacted LOTS. But I am not a childcare professional, either.

Casey said...

Ahh, if only our tude could be so mild. Why didn't this teacher just take the fruit away and/or ask him again? Looks like she was the one looking for trouble.

KathyS said...

Ditto to pretty much everyone's everything. And I kinda love Hank ...

Star said...

Oh man, what a tough row to hoe...how to help him keep his self-confidence, yet help him realize that--for almost everyone--there always will be rules to follow and bosses to please. The talk in the car scene...sounds like you two achieved a very good result. At about his same age, I distinctly remember being on the receiving end of one of those (nothing to do with blueberries, but some other kind of behavior considered inappropriate--eons ago--in church), and the fear was real, "You just wait 'til we get home, and I tell your father what you did." Hmmm, come to think of it, who spanked him for not going to church in the first place?! Inquiring minds want to know!

The Stiletto Mom said...

Does Hank have a fan club? Are there "HANK ROCKS!!!" tshirts? If so, please let me know. Also, even though Miss G is four years older than him, I think we may be able to work something out in their later years. Those two are cut from the same cloth!

Common Household Mom said...

A preschool that has table work? and an office to be sent to? He found an excellent use for the blueberries. High fives are in order.

This reminds me of when my son's kindergarten teacher told me, "He doesn't put away his crayons like the other children do." My response: this is kindergarten, not 5th grade, right? My son was also the youngest in his class, with some kids a full 1.5 years older. He is now 15 and doing just fine. (He still doesn't put away his crayons, though.)

Kate said...

I want to be in the Hank fan club too. And I was in the principal's office today as well after a note came home about my son's behavior in 1st grade.

csmith said...

I'm with you, I would have just taken his blueberries away, end of problem. Kids this age need firm "no more blueberry" action not a power struggle. Which you will never win because no 4 year old will ever admit that you have control over him. By the way, he certainly is a smart little bugger(and cute).

Suburban Princess said...

Awwww sounds like something my son would say! I am laughing right along with you :O)

The incredible news is....he is a quick thinker and isnt a sheep!