Friday, 6 May 2011

Am I Smarter Than A Third Grader?

In my last conversation with the principal where she threw a 5 page "Threat Incident Report" at me, she also informed me that Dayton had not produced much work in the past three weeks.  I offered to come to his classroom and show the aid what I do at home to help Dayton get his work done.  Surprisingly enough, the principal took me up on my offer.  And so yesterday, I went to grade 3.  Just for two hours, but still.  I went to grade 3!

I entered Dayton's school totally nervous, experiencing the same heebie jeebies I would on the first day of a new job.  With thoughts of "what if the kids make fun of me, or worse, what if they make fun of Dayton because his mom is here?" running through my head, I quickly come to a sense of calm seeing my baby waiting with his teacher's assistant for me in the hallway.  I'm thinking "thank you Lord!  You've heard my prayers!"  Dayton had a big grin on his face, obviously pleased to see me.  Seeing his smile melt my heart.

We started working in the resource room.  It was just the three of us:  Dayton, his aid and myself.  The aid whipped out a list of 31 topics, and asked Dayton to pick one.  I'm like "whoa there Nelly, let's narrow that list down a little, shall we?  Let's see what I know will interest Dayton.  31 choices is like 28 choices too many.  Let's narrow it down to three, shall we?"

One of the choices was to look at a picture of yourself with your mom (yes, every kid in grade 3 carries a picture of himself with his mom in his wallet, cause they like to get beat up), and write out what's happening in the picture.  It just so happens I had my blackberry with me (never, ever leave home without it), and I have many pictures on it.  Dayton stopped me at a picture of him and his friend with "daddy" in front of a big, huge "man toy" of a crane.  This crane was so huge, just the tires alone were double the height of Dayton.  Very impressive.  So I asked the aid if we can substitute "dad" for "mom," and he agreed we could.

I helped Dayton tell his story, and the aid wrote it out on a piece of paper.  Then Dayton had to type the story out on the computer.

I didn't want Dayton to cheat.  I wanted him to show his aid that we've been working on writing at home, and to show him how I helped Dayton write.  At this time, I again thanked the Lord that we were sitting alone in private, and not in the classroom with twenty-nine other students. 

I'm sounding out every letter of each word, sounding like a complete fool or a mental patient.  I covered the piece of paper the aid had written Dayton's story on so Dayton couldn't cheat off it.  I made him spell it, having him hear me sound out the words slowly and dragging each letter.  I sounded, well...  awkward.  But, it's how I help my son write.  As long as it gets the job done, who cares how moronic I look.  I don't mind him laughing at me, especially if it makes it interesting for him to learn.  The sacrifices us mothers make! 

The principal and guidance counselor kept spying on us in the hallway.  I may have sounded like a moron, but that doesn't mean I am one.  These women are like vultures.  I'm thinking they figured there was no way in hell I'd be able to get Dayton to do a stitch of work.  Wrong ladies (I have a much more interesting names to call them, but this is a family blog ;)!  My boy works for me, cause I make it INTERESTING, and don't mind making a fool of myself to get the job done.  Take that!


I can do recess!  Or so I thought.  Did you know that small children refer to adults in the third person and never directly?  Yup, they do!

So the kids are crawling on a structure I want to call monkey bars, but I'm not quite sure what it really is.  It looks like a globe, with tons of multi-colored bars running in all different direction.  Looking at it directly made me vomit, just a little in my mouth.  It hurt my eyes.

Then I hear one of the kids say "I'm nine years old."
Another says "I'm eight,"
The first one says "How old you think she is (and I know he's referring to me)?"
"I'm eight years old" I yelled back impulsively.
"Do you think she's really eight years old?" asks the first kid.
"Yeah, I'm really big for my age..." I added.
"My mom's that big, and she's twenty-eight."  Says the second kid.  I'm thinking, jeesh, I wish.
"Big people act weird."  Says the first kid.  And I'm thinking 'who you calling big, kid?  So I'm a couple lbs. over weight, check yourself out first, you with the pants on the ground, pants on the ground, lookin' like a fool with your pants on the ground...'

Dayton and a buddy decide to go play on the swings.  Still nauseated, I follow weakly behind them.  The boys twisted and flipped the seats and handles over and over and over again, giving me motion sickness.  They did this until they shortened the swings to where the seats were just above their heads!  I wondered how on earth they were going to climb in the swings and use them...  I had no idea my little darling angel was an acrobat!!!  You should have seen these boys twisting, turning and bending their bodies to slide into these seats!  It was freaking amazing!!!

But then...  they started to swing...  Up, up, up super high, and then...
"Look Dayton's mom!  No hands!  5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and JUMP!"
"Nooooooooooooooooooo!!!" But the boys ignore me, Dayton's aid is laughing hysterically at me, and I'm standing there freaking out, that little bit of vomit turning into a lump in my mouth.  Then both boys jump out and roll on the gravel.  They're fine, I'm not.  I'm dry heaving and doing my best not to puke.  The boys did this act over and over and over and over again.  I couldn't watch.  Dayton's aid thought I was quite entertaining.  I didn't think so, but I could see how one would think I was being a drama queen.  You see, I'm a wee bit over protective of my babe...  No really, I really am.  I know, hard to believe, but I'm afraid it's true.  Thank goodness I was saved by the bell.  Recess is over, time to go back inside.

Time for art.  A big glob of blue paint and white paint is put on Dayton's art paper.  He's given a straw and told to blow at the glob of paint...  The poor kid got light headed, I had to take him out to get some water.  But, we finished it!  Of course, my black pretty shirt is covered in blue and white paint, but hey, we got the job done.  Mental note:  do not sit across to Dayton when he's blowing air through a straw...

Next art project was for Social Studies.  Dayton was to find pictures from magazines that reminded him of home, country and family.  He was to cut them out and paste them on a piece of art paper.  OK!  Easy!

As Dayton and I flip through magazines, he finds a picture of lit Halloween Jacko lanterns and lit cut out pumpkin faces.  He decides to cut the picture out to represent "country." 
Next, he finds a picture of a blackberry...  He cuts this out because it remind him of home, both Glen and I have a blackberry, and as I've said, I never, ever leave home without it.
Well...  then he finds a picture of a car that has run into a huge boulder.  On the boulder is a yellow hard hat...  The smashed up car apparently reminds Dayton of me and the yellow hard hat reminded him of Glen.  Fantastic!  I'd just like to add here that I'm a good driver and only been in three car accidets.  Only one of those was my fault.  He cuts the darn picture and pastes it to the piece of paper.
The cutest and funniest picture he finds is a cat standing on his hind legs, with his legs crossed as it needs to go to the bathroom.  Dayton cuts this picture out as he finds it funny and wants it to represent his cat "Jack."

I feel a sense of accomplishment.  My son is grinning from ear to ear.  He's worked hard for me today.  Dayton has managed to do work that the teacher and aid have tried to get him to do for the past two days with no success.  I'll admit, I feel as little smug as I've proven to them all that Dayton is fully capable, and willing to do the work, providing you make it INTERESTING.  My boy's no robot.  He's a kid with a sense of humor, and being funny is important to him.  Not only does he enjoy making others laugh, he enjoys to laugh himself.  I'm so glad I had the opportunity to give him a giggle at school.  I'm glad I was able to be there for him in his moment of success, how many parents of "normal" children are able to say the same?

Hug your children, give them praise and kisses and love them.  They're worth the hard work.  Thank the Lord He's chosen us to take care of his angels.  I wouldn't change my babe for the world.

Consider yourselves hugged,


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