Saturday, March 12, 2011
Prodding and Poking With Naughty Intent
The child lives in his own imaginary video game. He doesn't walk—not anywhere, and not for any reason. When he moves he runs, bounces, leaps, twirls, and scuttles. When moving from room to room, he jumps from one edge of the carpet to another, and sidles along the wall. He's clearly thinking that the plain wood floor is made of boiling lava and alligators.
All the while, he keeps up a running patter of nonsensical singing (mostly half under his breath) and poop/fart talk.
"Fart! Fart! In my apple tart! Farty butt doo-dee! Farty butt doo-DEE!"
He repeats a phrase so often that he becomes breathless. When you try to catch his attention, it usually takes about six tries. His pockets are filled with "nature" and found objects. He often gives one crumpled bits of nothingness as gifts—like some lint stuck together with glue and popsicle sticks and some old cheese wax and wrapped up with ripped tin foil, then tied with a used ribbon. The Tiger Mother would have hurled such items into the garbage with a disparaging "pfah!", but I line them up on my desk until I can bury them under cover of night.
Anyway, Second Son's antics didn't serve him so well in school, where he has to sit still and pay attention at times. First, his teacher mentioned the "little noises and squeaks" he makes during circle time. Then there was the "inappropriate touching." He had "poor impulse control" and a tendency toward rude language.
(He's really a very bright and marvelous and whimsical child, although I realize that I have described him almost exactly as I would describe a fictional child with a curious collection of special needs.)
Photocopied apology notes started to show up at home:
"Sorry for the badness in gym."
"I am sorry I punched you. I am still your friend."
"Sorry for breaking the pencil."
"Sorry I pinched your butt."
Second Son and two other boys in the Kindergarten class started a gang of sorts. The gang's sole purpose was to bother other members of the gang. Poking, pushing, and kicking soon led them to be the first Kindergarten kids in memory to be referred for weekly Group Counseling Sessions with the school psychologist. There, they would forsake their naughty ways and learn not to prod and poke one another with evil intent.
It seemed to have worked, for Second Son recently announced that he had "given away his bad."
"Who'd you give it away to?" asked the teacher's assistant nervously. "Someone in the class? Can you give us a name?"
All was well for about a month until today, when I arrived to pick him up from school. The teacher pulled me over and said: "We had a little problem this week."
"No, we had some penis touching."*
"His own? Or others'?"
"Ah, well...both. He thought I didn't see him, but I caught it out of the corner of my eye. Several times."
The teacher reached her hand out to demonstrate, and gave a very light and gentle "poke!" into the air.
"At least he was gentle about the whole thing!" I said.
"Very gentle!" she agreed. "Very gentle!"
*Note: The touching was to the penile "area." No actual winkies were touched.