Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Didn't I Used to be a Story Teller?

Just recently someone that I know mostly as an aquaintance asked me if I was ever a writer. The question took me a bit by surprise. Uh no, why do you ask? She said that my facebook statuses were funny and well written and had a writer-esque feel.

That's just those semesters at Purdue studying PR showing themselves. The same kind of engrained stuff that makes me question people based on their apostrophe usage.

But yes, I used to write a blog. This blog. I used to record the silly stories of life at home with two kids. Otherwise forgotten stories like that time that baby Tessa lost her favorite monkey in a California mall, and the time that Charley's post-beet diaper made me think he had internal bleeding.

Looking back lately, you'll see that I've taken a bit of a blog hiatus. Basically all last summer and all fall. I didn't even blog any stories from our trip to Disney. My hiatus started unintentionally as a break, and extended by busyness. Then also became circumstancial. For instance...I don't currently own a working computer. But my husband does and when I can get him away from our in-home office (mostly by means of his almost weekly business trip) I often forget that this is my one chance to type type type.

Fun fact,  did you know that I can type 65 words per minute? And one my phone...I can type 3 words per minute. 

The break was nice, and certainly didn't mean that I didn't flood the internet with pictures and anecdotes about my kids.  But if writing and, in particular, storytelling is what I like to do...well then I should more often! When I can commandeer the computer, that is.

So I've got my cup of coffee and Ben Folds is playing (that's my tried and true thinking music). And here's a little recently story about Charley.

Charley is a worrier. I wouldn't say that he has an overly anxious personality, as he can be a pretty light and bubbly guy most of the times. He's not going to require medication or give himself a stomach ulcer. But he thinks about things carefully before he does them. He is not impulsive or spontaneous like you might expect a 5 year old boy to be.

At conferences this October, his kindergarten teacher said that in her 30 years of teaching, she has very rarely run across a boy like Charley....worried about doing things right, perfectionist about his work, and paranoid that someday he will break a rule in get in trouble. She said he spent a lot of time at her desk reviewing what the rules are, making sure he was in the right. She noted that often little girls can be this way about their first year of school, but not usually the 5 year old boys. 

After that we had a lot of talks with him about not worrying. Once he figured out what the rule of the classroom WERE, he seemed to relax some. I think he just wanted to understand the expectations, being that he's never done this before. He would occasionally report to me that so-and-so had lost recess or been sent to the if he was taking mental notes on how not to act at school. I told him to chill out about it and just listen to his teacher.

Well two weeks ago he got off the bus and greeted me with "Mom you're going to be mad at me. I got in trouble and there will probably be a note and you will probably be mad."

There was no note from school, but from his stuttery fast paced recounting of the story I finally figured out that he had gotten in trouble in P.E. class. His school is currently under construction so they are walking over the middle school for P.E., where Charley apparently went behind a curtain to get a ball. Behind a curtain he had been told not to go behind, because there was a wrestling team practicing on the other side. 

Charley told me that because of this infraction, the next week when he had P.E., he had to sit in the office. Since I had received no note on the incident, I took him at his word. I assumed that this acted as a sort of 'time out' where he would sit while his class played ball. Works for me.

Charley was emotional and anxious at this thought. The word OFFICE struck fear and confusion. Every morning he would ask me if this was P.E. day. The day he had to go to the OFFICE. Then he would berate me with questions....What will happen there? Where will I sit? Will they send a note? If they send a note, is that really bad? And my favorite....Where is the office again? The answer is, 15 feet from his classroom. 

He stewed over it. 

And since this happened right before Thanksgiving break, he had to stew over it extra. Not just a week but like 11 days. 

Mostly I told him to calm down. If he deserved the punishment, he would serve it as told. And really, sitting in the office isn't that big of a deal. Stop worrying. Put on your shoes, let's go. 

When P.E. day finally came he had succumbed to full acceptance. Putting on his tennis shoes he sighed loudly....Well. I guess I won't need these since I have to sit in the office. *Sigh*

When he got off the bus that day he was all smiles. "Mom you won't believe it. I didn't have to sit in the office at all!". I was confused for a bit then we sorted it out. On the day of the incident where Charley went behind the forbidden wrestling curtain of death, the P.E. teacher had warned him- If you do that again, next time you will be sent the office.  But what Charley heard was- You're in trouble, next time (we have P.E.) you have to go to the office. 

All along. All the 11 days of questioning and stewing. What had been said by the P.E. teacher was a WARNING.

And honestly, I think the 11 days of stewing about it was the perfect punishment for not listening to his P.E. teacher. Rather than worrying about what the rules are, he finally figure it out very clearly. Listen to your teacher. Refuse to listen to your teacher and you might be sent to the OFFICE.  Dun dun dun!

Psychological warfare. Well played, school. Well played. 

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