Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Corner Turned?

I have a rule about the kids' lunches: if they don't eat the "good" stuff, they don't get any sort of treat in their lunch the next day.  A couple days ago, Abe left the carrots I'd packed for him, so I told him at dinnertime that I was putting them back in for the next day's morning snack.  He usually gets something like cheese or crackers for morning snack, but this morning: leftover carrots from yesterday.

This morning we all overslept, so Ted ended up being the one to take the kids to school and in the rush to get out the door, I forgot to tell him to make sure Abe put the bag of carrots on his desk for morning snack.

Well, lo and behold, as I was unpacking his lunchbox from school tonight before dinner, I noticed the carrots were gone.  He told me that he'd remembered himself to put them on his desk for snack.  This was confirmed by his dad.

I couldn't quite believe it.  Our son being this responsible all on his own?  My heart swelled with pride, and I told him that if I had a 'golden ticket' to give him, I would.  

It seems like a small thing: a bag of carrots at morning snack in kindergarten.  But for his parents, the ones ones who wonder when their son will ever grow into a responsible, school-age kid who is trustworthy and mature, well, my goodness, that bag of carrots said a lot.  

I give so much credit to his teacher and the wonderful student teachers she has working with her who are so good at "catching" kids doing the right thing.  Our son got two of these 'golden tickets' last week for being responsible: one for pushing not only his chair under but also his neighbor's chair.  He got another one today for going to the back of the line instead of pushing to be at the front after P.E.  

I noticed my baby boy walking in a different kind of way last week when I was in the class to volunteer.  When he noticed me in the classroom, his eyes brightened and he whispered, "Mom! I got a golden ticket today!"  His face was bright with pride for having been noticed doing the right thing.  Of course, I choked back tears.  

Tonight as Ted came down from putting the kids to bed, he said, "Abe wanted me to tell you that today at school, he helped a girl at school even though she wasn't very nice because his teacher asked him to."  He was proud.  He did the right thing.

I am so thankful that he is in an environment where integrity, truthfulness and responsibility are encouraged and rewarded.  And people, this is public school.  Our tax dollars at work.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

We're All in This Together

I've gotten fired up lately over the presidential election.  Talking heads, manipulators of public opinion, selfish egomaniacs.  

Wrong assumptions so quickly made and folks get defensive.

A kid in my son's class last week told him he looks like a girl.  My impulse was to shake this kid.   

People living close up next to each other, rubbing each other the wrong way and getting bristly, some retreat, some lash out.

Listening to this song a lot.  Heard it for the first time performed live while I was walking to the port-a-potties.  It stopped me in my tracks.

It reminds me to be kind since we're all lost and broken anyway, not to freak out when I feel out of sorts and that the wander-lust I was born with that lately has me staring longingly at huge RVs is not something to be ashamed of.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Is that your mom?

Three school mornings ago when the kindergarteners were putting their backpacks away, the loudest boy in class stood next to us and said as a taunt, "Is that your mom?"  

Abe's reaction was to furrow his eyebrows, fold his arms for a second, then shove the boy.  

I took Abe in the hallway to talk about things.  We named all the kids he knows who don't look like their parents.  He agreed they all love each other.  He agreed that the best reaction in the future might be just to answer, "Yes, that's my mom" because really, shoving the loudest kid in class is only going to cause you problems.

I mentioned the interaction to his teacher to give her a heads-up for the day.  She was glad I told her.

The very next day after school, Abe's teacher told me that she had read to the whole class my favorite adoption book A Mother For Choco.  Afterwards, half the kids raised their hands when asked if they knew what 'adoption' meant. 

 She then asked for a show of hands for anyone who knows someone who is adopted.  Abe's hand shot up, and according to the teacher and the student-teacher, he said, "I'm adopted.  I was also chosen."

For any educators out there, this is how you do it.

What the what?  How did my five-year-old become so confident and well-spoken?  You mean, he actually is listening when we whisper these things to him?  The last time I remember using the word "chosen" to describe my son was well over a year ago.  I guess he actually does hear us.