Friday, September 09, 2011

Angels and demons

He's taken to calling her "convict," which I think is funny in that she's never even been incarcerated...just, you know, verbally disciplined and now...written up.


After soccer practice last night, Zoe pulled out her blue "home" folder.  This stays in her backpack and shuttles between school and home, messages and drawings and fundraising info enclosed.  She's gotten into the routine of emptying her blue folder almost first-thing after we get home, which is good because if we don't do it immediately we'll all forget.

Out of a small stack of papers, she pulled a yellow sheet (the last page of a triplicate form) and brought it forth.  "You're not going to be happy."

She was right.

Turns out that the only reason I didn't get a call from the principal two days in a row is that the principal was in a principal's meeting, and was unable to bawl out my kid.  Again.

Yesterday's crime?  Throwing rocks at the storage shed, repeatedly and without heeding verbal warnings to stop, and then hiding behind said shed, which is most definitely not in the safe play area.


What's ironic is that the second sheet pulled from her blue folder was her sticker chart.  Full of stickers awarded for good behavior in the classroom.  So.  She's an angel inside, and a little hellion on the playground.

We talked and talked, and talked some more.  Cried.  Well, sobbed actually.  Discussed how we love her and, in this case, we most certainly do not like her current outdoor actions and choices.  This morning, we wrote a note to her teacher asking for contact and sent it back with the signed yellow paper.  After dropping her off, we parked the car and headed into church for a Welcome Back mass for students and parents.  Kindergartners didn't come in until the end.  It was a lovely way to start the day, especially given the anxiety that goes along with having to sign off on a form saying, essentially, "Yes, I am well aware that my child is exhibiting delinquent behavior."

After the mass, as we headed into the school for a small parents' reception, we saw Mrs. K, Zoe's teacher.  She offered to meet with us immediately as the children were heading into PE anyway.  Perfect. Another parent was volunteering in the room at the time, so we stood in a small, cramped teachers lounge to talk.  Basically, Mrs. K noticed the same thing we did (one behavior inside, another out), and thinks it stems very much from what we think: she's being influenced by another child who has less-than-stellar behavior.  The other child is in the other kindergarten class, so Zoe only sees her at lunch, recess and aftercare.


You know, as a mother, the first solution, the easiest solution, that comes to mind is this: limit exposure.  Keep my kid away from the bad seed.  There.  Done.  She goes back to being my sweet, adorable Zozo whom teachers and other parents love.

But then I realized that by doing that, by sheltering her, I'll never give her the opportunity to learn how to stand up for herself when she knows something is wrong.  She needs to learn how to function in a society where so many bad things happen, and so many choices are given.  She needs to know how to stand up for what's right, always.

Mrs. K said that they (she, the recess monitor, and the after-care teacher) are watching things, and for now, they'll continue to let them play together.  The hope is that Zoe's "goodness" will rub off on the other child.  I think the chance of this is slim to none, given how I've seen that child behave in other situations.  (It usually takes multiple commands, in increasing volume and tone, and then usually a physical interference to get the child to mind.  And I've seen this repeatedly.)  While I'm not pleased about that at all (my 6-year-old child isn't responsible for transforming someone else's poor behavior or correcting someone else's parenting mistakes), I do want to see if she, ahem, grows a pair and learns to stand up for herself.

So, for now, we just wait and see.  And talk about how we must do these things:

  1. Don't hide.
  2. Don't throw rocks at the shed.
  3. Mind your elders.
A friend of ours told us before mass that her college freshman, less than a week into classes, got busted for minor-in-possession.  Great.  So it just keeps getting easier, huh?!



Post a Comment

<< Home