One thing led to another and he was sent to the principal's office. This happened at the end of the class period so after I dismissed the rest of the kids, I walked downstairs, fists clenched, to the office. To say I was mad is an understatement. This kid had been driving me crazy for months and this incident was the last straw. So when I walked into the office and saw my administrator (who knew what had happened) I said in what might've been an overly loud voice, "HE IS GOING DOWN!" (Who am I kidding? I sounded like I was an announcer at SMACKDOWN.)
And then I turned a corner and saw him. He was curled up in a seat sobbing. This monster of a kid who literally terrorized classrooms was crying so hard I barely recognized him. He wasn't crying because he heard what I'd said (although, that couldn't have helped), and I'm sure it wasn't because he felt terrible about spraying me in the face with a water bottle. He was probably crying because he knew he was about to get punished and it probably would be severe.
All I wanted to do at that point was sit down next to him and tell him it would be OK. That he didn't have to be scared. I couldn't remember why I was so angry, and actually, I felt foolish for being so angry in the first place.
"Oh heyyyyyyy guys! I'm in here too!"
Big shots -
There was pizza.
There was an Ariel cake.
"Where'd everybody go? Y'all don't want any more cake?"
There was a pinata!
"What do you mean I have to give this bat to her? I don't care who's birthday party this is."
"I'm having a hard time understanding the taking turns aspect of this game."
Well, it's nice to have your sister share in on the joys of summer, too.
It was time to go home and Hadley and Harper decided they were having none of that business. Harper screamed SCAAAREEEEEMED bloody murder letting the greater DC area know there is nothing wrong with her vocal chords. And Hadley? Hadley argued her way out of the pool as I dragged her out. She clawed, pinched, and screamed at me while I dried her off, and while I turned to put the towel away, she jumped back into the pool.
Oh yes she did.
The girls screamed all the way through the parking lot while Jesse and I tried to collaborate on discipline.
Jesse: OK, I told Hadley no TV and no treats tomorrow and you told her no TV for a week, plus no chocolate milk.
Me: I canNOT believe she jumped back into the pool after I dried her off. What have I done wrong that prompted this kind of behavior? I NEVER acted like this....especially at 4.
Jesse: I think we need to focus on what we're going to do about it.
They didn't seem to care that they weren't going to watch TV or get any treats, but we did find something that proved to be a worthy punishment.
We told them we were throwing away their party favors.
When I told Hadley we were going to throw them away her screaming turned to sobbing. Hadley rarely cries, and when she does it's the saddest cry you ever heard. Through tears she asked, "Can I look at the party favors before you throw them away?"
And that's when I rememberd my student crying in the principal's office. It just didn't seem to matter what she did. She was so sad and I am her mother and now I've made her miserable.
I wish we could do it over. I wish I could find the perfect thing to say so that the girls won't scream and yell and treat me like Voldemort when I say that it's time to go. I wish I could've managed the classroom better or been a better teacher so that I never had discipline problems.
I took a "Writing for Children" class taught by Erica Perl a few years ago. We wrote stories and shared them with the group. I wrote a story with the student I'm writing about in this post as one of the main characters. I called him Steven in my piece, and he was wild and obnoxious and funny. I shared my first draft with my classmates and then did some revisions. I took Steven out, and after sharing the second draft everyone said, "Where's Steven? Why'd you take him out? We loved him!"
I have a hard time with discipline. The hardest part is that I see that Hadley and Harper and the boy I'm calling Steven aren't who they are so much more than their actions in these instances. I hate treating them based on their actions but I guess sometimes I have to do it. That doesn't mean I love or admire them any less.
It also doesn't mean that these things don't make for great stories, and maybe they're a teeny bit funny a few days (years?) later.