parens binubus

more than you want to know about a law school graduate/bar examinee who is also raising two children and doing her best at being a partner to her love.

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  • Wednesday, November 29, 2006
    actually, i do have more to say
    first of all.
    I was pretty bothered yesterday when e. woke up from a bad dream - in my version of past events, this has happened less than 5 times since we have lived in this apartment, although beloved seems to think it's been more than once a month. i must strenuously disagree.

    the bother came from the subject of her dream: her father. it was a very scary dream wherein he either transformed into or was mistaken for some type of monster who was trying to kidnap the girls.

    the bother also came from the fact that a few weeks ago she had another very bad/scary dream, about her father, wherein he turned into a ghost -- a scary one.

    those who are close to me say that i should not be "bothered" in any way. but it still sits poorly with me. i've asked her if she has any reason to fear him, and the answer was no "except for that one time that he tickled me and left marks for 3 months." beloved has his theories, and my sis just thinks - it's just a dream.

    the second issue:

    i received a phone call from e.'s teacher today. she wanted to let me know that e. is having some trouble with a boy in her class, and that it's become slightly problematic. they are "arguing." so the teacher is going to sit down with them next week and try to mediate a solution.

    e. is not really so hard to get along with. she actually has a track record of being that friend of the friendless. BUT - if she is clashing with someone, it is very likely that she would over-react and raise her voice and not let go of the argument in the appropriate amount of time.

    problem being - the boy who she's struggling with is one who has a reputation of being difficult. one day recently, when i went to pick her up from after-school, this boy was being disciplined for purposefully throwing a basketball HARD into a girl's face. he was told to write a paragraph about what he did or why he shouldn't have - or something. he was given 30 minutes. i walked in as the 30 minutes ended, and the after-school person had to unwrinkle a ball of paper to find it blank. he then told the boy that he would have "consequences" the next day, and that his mother would be informed about his behavior. i was no longer in that room when i heard the SCREAM from this boy - just a giant wail of RAGE.

    so e.'s first reaction to news that i had been informed about this "issue" was pretty defensive. that it was all the boy's fault, and not her fault, and that the only way she could contribute to a solution is if she quits the after-school program, switches to another classroom, and never plays "Four Square" again. Four Square is her latest obsession, and i don't know crap about it. i tried to explain to her that she cannot go into a meeting full of accusations and denials of any responsibility.

    she took that to mean that she was "in trouble," and came home and went straight to her bed, where she laid down and quietly cried for at least 30 minutes. i went in to talk to her, and she told me the following:

    • this boy has called her a "bitch" (10 years old! hello!!)
    • this boy has hit her both with a sweater and with his hands
    • this boy calls her an idiot
    • this boy keeps "blowing in her face"
    • they used to be friends, but one day his friends started teasing her, and when she yelled at them to stop, he thought she was yelling at him, and now he is mean.
    • on the day he hit her, called her an idiot, and blew in her face, she told on him, and he got in pretty big trouble, including a phone call home

    fortunately, she was also willing to admit to:
    • yelling back at him when he yells at her
    • purposefully going into the area where he is to irritate him, after he was particularly mean one day
    • sometimes bumping into him "by accident" when playing Four Square
    • "tapping" his leg with her foot as she got into her seat (their desks are in the same grouping), to which he yelled "YOU KICKED ME" and then limped across the classroom

    Their "meeting" is next week. i'm trying to prepare her for effective problem-solving. she said she truly feels that he should get in trouble, b/c she feels that he is a problem, and she is not. but i'm trying to explain to her that her reaction can also be problematic, and potentially distract her teacher from any problems she's trying to explain as coming from HIM if she's doing it while yelling and losing her temper.

    If this boy is hitting her and swearing at her, though, I don't think that a "meeting" is enough. That is bullying behavior, and I would feel that it may be appropriate for me to be more assertive about the problem being solved in regards to him, not as a mediation session where e. is given advice to just "leave him alone."

    I'm pretty sure this is the first time i've gotten a call from the girls' teacher about a problem. maybe that means i'm lucky? or is 5th grade too soon for this to happen?

    Labels: ,

    posted by Zuska @ 8:10 PM  
    • At Thursday, November 30, 2006 8:55:00 AM, Anonymous beloved said…

      is 5th grade too early? in some cases it's too late. when i was in 4th grade we had a kid - let's call him marty - who acted a lot like this one. one day marty kicked me under the table, hard, and i yelped. was sent to stand outside of class and when i complained that marty had done it, and others at the table confirmed, marty was sent out as well. once outside, and angry that he had been busted, marty chased me down the hall, around the bulding, pushed me down and stabbed me in the back over a dozen times with a pencil. had he held the pencil higher, or the pencil been sharper, i wouldn't be alive to write any of this.

      the teacher's version was that i provoked marty somehow: why else would he behave this way? and, true, i may have egged him on (i can't recall, i'm saying it's within the possibility) but did it warrant a stabbing? the principal gave us both stern warnings and let us go. i told my mom who brought me back to school that afternoon to show the principal the marks on my back. i was excused from the office and afterward nothing more was said.

      marty was not suspended nor expelled from school, though he did disappear from town shortly afterward.

      had i grown up in different times my parents might have tried to press charges or sue marty's parents and the school to the tune of a college education. as it was, to the best of my understanding, everyone involved tried to sweep it under the table.

      and deep inside i get the same hinky feeling here.

      yes, e. can give as good as she gets when provoked, but this kid sounds dangerously close to being out of control, as in soon it will be to late to have any sort of control over him. i say we see how this plays out but i also think:

      a) e's teacher is new-ish and probably never had to handle something this complex

      b) the principal, for whatever reason, is sitting on her hands

      c) the parents are either in denial or don't care

      d) we need to get e. to understand the seriousness of how out of control this kid is and that staying as far away as possible (like he's radioactive) is best, if she doesn't get that already.

      and don't dismiss me as over-reactionary!

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