Thursday, February 10, 2011

In Which I Pretend I Didn't Disappear for Weeks, and Hope You Buy It

Cute Kid (Not My Own) Story #1: This morning at school, this kid wanted the binoculars that another kid was using. He told me so, and I asked him, "What do you need to do?" This is a kid who has the verbal skills and the experience to ask for a turn independently, so whenever possible, we try not to solve the problem, but to provide him with some cues to solve it himself. Sure enough, A turned to B (hee...those are actually their initials, although it reads as if I was just not terribly creative with "Kid A and Kid B") and asked, "Will you share with me?" B replied firmly, "No share!" and A turned back to me with big sad eyes and a quivering chin: "He don't wanna share."

I asked him, "OK, so now what can we do?" because we teach kids that first, you ask your friend, and if the other child says no, then you can get a teacher to help you. A looked confused at first, then brightened as the idea dawned on him. The tears disappeared from his eyes as he jumped up and shouted, "We can trap him!"

Cute Kid (Not My Own) Story #2: My afternoon group is my social skills group, kids who are cognitively typical (and often quite bright) but have social-emotional/behavioral issues. We were at circle today and there was a fight over a blue cushion. And when I say "fight," I mean bellowing screams and flying fists. Possibly someone's mom was insulted.

One teacher grabbed J, who was sitting on the cushion and sobbing, and I grabbed D, who had been trying to get the cushion. We pulled them apart and spent a few moments helping them calm down (a tenet of the Positive Discipline thinking that we follow is that kids do better when they feel better; also, brain science tells us that kids can't problem-solve when upset, so our first step is always to get kids to calm down). Meanwhile, another child saw what was going on and offered D an identical blue cushion. He was instantly cheered, and happily sat down. J was still seething a bit about being attacked (go figure), so I asked him, "Did you want to tell D something?" inviting him to use his words to tell D "that made me mad" or whatever. He crossed his arms, furrowed his brow, and said firmly, "No."

So I turned to D and said, "Did you want to tell J something?" (we don't force kids to apologize, but we do give them opportunities to; sometimes they say "sorry" or they might explain "I was really mad that you wouldn't give that to me" or whatever). D solemnly said, "Yes," and crawled over to where J was sitting. "J, I want to tell you something...I want...I want...I want to tell you that...." I waited, wondering what heartfelt words he was trying to find.

"I'm gonna play T-ball this spring."

I'm sure that made J feel much better.


MOTH is always telling me that it is unnecessary (as well as possibly boring) to open with abject apologies about not writing for a while. But! I bet it's totally different if I close with those apologies, right?

Yargh. I don't even have a single good excuse. I wanted to write more about my little happy-being experiment and how it's mostly working but it is exactly as hard and tedious as you'd think it would be. I was going to tell you about how within 48 hours we lost power and then our oven died and then my car's key fob stopped working and somewhere Laura Ingalls Wilder was all, "Deal with it, bitch." I still need to tell you about how my sister and I are planning a Gradual Surprise Party (tm Aunt Benevola) for my dad when I go back to Chicago in a few weeks. I have a bunch of sad foster kid stories that I don't think I want to tell you because they are sad and frankly you guys already have that Egypt thing to think about. I wanted to copy my cousin's Facebook post about a CNN report that Bristol Palin was considering running for office that read: "HAHAHAHAHA no."

In short, I'm here, and except for the part where I suck, I'm OK. I hope you are as well, except for the sucking part.


  1. Glad you are OK and also wish to hear more about this happy-being experiment.

    Those kids you work with . . . preciousness. It must also be EXHAUSTING, but those stories are precious. They are lucky to have you.

  2. I had to figure out what part of my apartment to cover in vaseline WITHOUT YOU. Hmph. And I'm NOT going to tell you whether or not I'll be playing T-ball this summer. Think about THAT.

    *kicks at floor, picks up ball, and goes home*

  3. MOTH is right: Do not apologize. What are you? Chinese? ;-)

    But very excited to see a new post up.

    Now you just gave us a lot of tease. When are you going to put out?!

  4. ajm--They are pre-shus, as my friend would write. They are all small and four and earnest and I catch myself saying things like, "I don't know if Josh wants to eat your playdough" more often than I can believe.

    Elly--I deserve nothing more than your lubed-up rancor. Smooches, poppet.

    SubWOW--naw, I'm Catholic. Explains a lot, huh?