The first few weeks of the new school year are gone. My six-year-old grandson wasn’t sure he even needed to go. After all, he did that last year. But after a lot of ranting, whining, and complaining, he gave in. He really had no choice.
The night before school started, my grandson and daughter dropped off his school supplies and met his new teacher. That went well. The next day, I picked Patrick up after school. That, too,went well. To Patrick, there was nothing new. The routine from last year was the same this year. He wasn’t worried any more. He knew he could handle the school year. That was all I wanted to hear.
As I always do, I asked Patrick how his first day went and he was almost giddy. He told me he shares a class with some of the kids from last year’s kindergarten class. His teacher is nice. Patrick even saw some of the kids from last year’s class on the playground and played with them during recess. Things were looking good. He even got a reward for not talking–candy. This year had real potential. Things began to change during the second week.
The second week started out on a good note too. Patrick was getting dressed, eating breakfast, and getting ready for school without dragging his feet. At the end of the day, he talked about the kids, about what he had for lunch, and about what they were doing in class. He got to see the bunny in science, reconnect with his music teacher, and meet his new PE teacher. Things were going well and humming along. Then it happened.
As little boys who are discovering their bodies often do, the other six-year-old boys in class decided to play a tune using their armpits. Patrick has been perfecting this talent all summer and was thrilled to discover that the other little boys in his class had as well. They decided to put on a concert for their classmates. To their dismay, they learned that armpit farts, or concerts of this nature, are not allowed in the classroom. That’s okay. Patrick plays for us at home when the muse strikes him.
Next, Patrick rediscovered the discipline policy used by the school. If a child does not make the correct choice, they have to flip a card. For Patrick, the torture comes in the possibility that a slip will go home and tell the parent that he had a lapse in judgment. It’s okay if grandpa and I know. We just talk about it and move on. Patrick’s worry is that his mom will find out. There will be consequences at home. That happened a few times last year. To Patrick, this is extreme torture. Something he would rather not deal with. But being a six-year-old boy, he sometimes makes the wrong choice. That has already happened.
Patrick forgot that it’s not a good idea to whistle in class while the teacher is trying to teach. For that, he flipped a card to yellow. He says he wasn’t paying attention. He says he doesn’t know what his teacher wanted, but he wasn’t doing it. That was okay. He learned. And the slip didn’t go home. His card was turned to green at the end of the day.
So, in just a few days Patrick learned that armpit farts are a talent better shared after school and that whistling is best practiced during recess. Every afternoon I hear what color the card was for the day. Things were going well until Thursday. Then it happened! Patrick turned his card to RED. When Patrick got in the car on Thursday, The first thing he did was check for the slip. It wasn’t there. A reprieve!! Patrick was relieved. Mom didn’t have to know.
I asked Patrick why the card was turned to red. He said it was because he was making his shoelaces dance while he was waiting to get his Friday folder. He says they were untied and instead of tying them, he decided to make them dance instead. Patrick admits that this was a lapse in judgment on his part. He doesn’t know what compelled him to make his shoelaces dance, but he says he was bored just sitting there waiting to be called up for the folder.
He says the kids around him were enjoying the performance but apparently, his teacher didn’t. He wasn’t on task. He wasn’t paying attention. This wasn’t his first lapse in judgment for the day. He had already flipped his card earlier. For Patrick, the relief came in knowing the card would be turned back to green, he would have another chance, and Friday was a day to rethink. It was a day without school.
I hope these stories brought a smile your way. I truly love my grandson. His reasoning skills amaze me. I love listening to his daily experiences and discussing his trials and lapses in judgment with him. We sometimes forget that these little guys are indeed little. I don’t worry that Patrick will continue to have lapses in judgment. That comes with the territory. I relish those lapses. They are fodder for some great stories. I hope you see your grandchildren, children, or yourself here. I know I do.