“2:15 today,” that’s all the email said. Damn, I wasn’t expecting her to respond so quickly. It’s not that I wasn’t grateful, but I was hoping it would be a little later in the week. I dug in my purse for my cell phone to enter in the time and date on the calendar. There was no chance I was going to forget…but, I’m trying to be more deliberate in the organization of my personal life.
Blindly foraging for technology at the bottom of my bag, I felt something squishy. I’m used to finding all kinds of items in there that are not mine; they’re usually from Taiwan, by way of Hot Wheels. This feels more like something that Darwin might have studied, it wasn’t moving…so that’s a plus.
I’m relieved as I discover that a pink, rubber gecko has been added to the fleet of vehicles in my purse. My son probably thought it was a suitable trinket because it was pink. Since I am female, he has decided that pink must be my favorite color…or maybe it was placed there for insurance purposes.
I left it in there, you never know when you’re going to need a lizard. Parked next to what feels like a miniature pick-up truck is my phone. I normally use the calendar function to amuse myself. My alerts read something like this: February 10th @ 7:00 a.m.- Put on pants. The appointment that I entered for 2:15 said, “Meet boy’s teacher, apologize for inappropriate language. Research ball-gag”.
I wasn’t sure just how inappropriate we were talking. In my head I pondered, on a scale of “gosh darn” to “go fuck yourself”…what exactly was the infraction? I didn’t put my thoughts in writing. I’m pretty sure there’s a filter on the school’s email that flags this type of language as very naughty and probably put me on a list to be investigated by Child Services.
My son wasn’t exactly forthcoming the night before when he’d told me about getting in trouble. He said it involved another “cwassmate,” actually, his exact words were “baby-head, toy-stealing, cwassmate”. While he’ll freely report his short comrades for acts worthy of receiving a “red” smiley face, he was tight-lipped.
He will happily present the little strip of paper with a green smiley face on it. Green means good. He’s crafty enough to destroy the evidence if a yellow or red is sent home. Until today, I was unaware that there is a primary color far more damning than red. The boy had gone blue. I don’t even know where that fits in on the color wheel.
It was almost as if he’d rehearsed his confession, “I had to be spoken to about inappropriate language. Don’t tell Dad,” he politely requested from the back seat. “I can’t keep this from your father. Daddy has to know,” trying not to laugh, I said this firmly. In the parenting arena I’m the one that is reactionary. It’s me that raises my voice. This interaction let me know I’m not nearly as intimidating as I think I am.
“I want to sing you a song,” he said. As random as that might sound to you, it’s kind of the norm when it comes to communicating with the under-tall.
His song was Valentinian in nature; something about puppies and hearts…and there was some barking. After the third verse, his voice cracking when he hit the high notes and a freestyle “ruff, ruff, ruff,” the back seat concert was over.
He must’ve learned it in school, because it wasn’t his signature style. Not the ode to farts or monster trucks he would have come up with when left to his own devices. “That was very good!” I said. “Ok, so that means you’re not going to tell Dad…right?”
His teacher was pleasant, we met with her in my son’s classroom. The term “whirling dervish” was used to describe him, more than once. Accurate? Yes. When we talked about his inability to focus, I was not at all surprised by this information. I just don’t exactly know what to do about it. I suffer from the same affliction. People have been trying to fix me for years. I’m not broken, neither is my boy.
This does not mean that I have abandoned my son’s educational endeavors. I am not acting defiantly, insisting that my son is a genius and faulting the teacher. I’ve seen what this does to a child. When you allow a person to sidestep their responsibilities in a situation, you create a lazy, self-absorbed, douchebag…gifted in placing blame on others…but lacking any other talents.
My son may grow up to be a giant asshole. If he does, I want to make damn sure he has the skills to back-up a big mouth or an inflated ego. I refuse to spend my golden years helping him dig out from under the self-created shitstorm that would be likely be his life if I ignore the problem and blame someone else. We all agreed that we are going to push to have him tested for learning related issues.
Once that was out of the way, the topic of inappropriate language was addressed. Keep in mind that I was seated at his desk…in his chair. In order to attain any level of comfort I had to contort my body into a position much like the “brace for impact” illustration on an airplane safety card. Almost expecting an oxygen mask to deploy from the ceiling, I bolstered myself for what I was about to hear and prayed that it wasn’t the four-lettered, grand-mother-of-all-curse-words.
The teacher tried to broach the situation delicately…but there wasn’t any real way to do this. Finally she blurted out, “He said bullshit”. She didn’t look at me as she said it, in fact, she turned her head completely around…like an owl. I laughed, even though I know I wasn’t supposed to. I’ve never acted appropriately before, why start now?
From the information I was able to gather, he was involved in a small dispute with a classmate. My boy felt that the best way to handle the argument was by getting a few inches away from the other child’s face and yell “BULLSHIT!” whenever the tot tried to speak. Since the boy’s father was seated right next to me, I couldn’t blame this language on him. This is one of my choice words to express frustration. He was also mimicking my preferred method of delivering the message. It was difficult to put on the air of disgust, when I was clearly thinking that it was pretty fucking awesome.
My son relays the story differently. He does not dispute the fact that there was an argument, but claims that he and the other child were playing with building blocks when it occurred. “I said “push it”. I wanted to play Godzilla and he wanted to finish the building”. I did not buy my boy’s alternative version, but I was impressed with his ability to find a non-offensive phrase that sounded so close to “bullshit”.
We had several discussions about there being a time and place for this kind of behavior. “You’re not supposed to say those things at school, dude”. “Or at work or church,” he added as he looked down at his feet.
I fought the urge to correct him with “No, you should totally call bullshit in church,” but I didn’t want to force my views on religion on him. “Mommy, can we go to church? Quincy goes to church…with his grandma”. I couldn’t believe he’d just asked to go to church. I could just see my little angel telling his Sunday school teacher she sucks. “Ask your father,” I replied.
I asked to see the “blue” smiley face. I was hoping to add it to his collection of undesirable notes. Somehow it disappeared. Perhaps a little religion wouldn’t be a bad thing.