that one I know too well
Posted October 20, 2012on:
I think today started out as a bad one for you, just because you woke up at 8am to pee. Between last night’s 10:30pm bedtime and this morning’s 8:00am wake up, that wasn’t a lot of rest for a child your age. Today was a school day.
When we got to school, you were quiet as usual, and proceeded to wander around after circle time, checking out some of the day’s activities.
Today was picture day.
You had your heart set on the play dough and the tortilla press. But I wanted a ghost, so I pleaded for one, and you left the play dough table to go make me a tissue paper ghost. When the task was done, you resumed your position in front of the tortilla press, but got called to take picture. You didn’t want to take pictures, but I asked you to, just so your face would show up on the roster for the 12-13 school year. Again, you reluctantly left the table after getting reassurances from me that the tortilla press would wait for you when the task is done. A good 20 minutes later and not one minute of that was fun for you, you ran back to the play dough station saying “oh no !!” because you found Brooke sitting in your place, occupying the tortilla press. So you pushed Brooke out by virtue of planting your body into her space. Teacher Poly saw that and immediately came to you to tell you that we all need to share, and we do not push our friends.
After the little talk, you just kept your head down and patted the play dough on the tortilla press mindlessly. I sat with you for a bit, knowing where you were coming from, and why you did the thing you did. Eventually you pressed the little ball of play dough and cut it into a pumpkin, then handed it to me, saying very quietly that it was my present. I said goodbye to you and we exchanged a kiss. I asked if you were ok, you told me you were. On the way out, I showed you an inkpad with a stamp at another activity table, knowing how much you like to stamp things on the back of your hand. You came over and started doing just that. Teacher Poly was at that table, and she immediately said, “May, we need to keep the stamp on the paper, not on our body.” You immediately put down the stamp onto the paper and left the table very quickly, returning to the play dough table by yourself and started mindlessly patting another chunk of play dough.
My heart ached for you at that moment because I know moments like that too well. I saw teacher Poly immediately coming over to sit down and comfort you, but I know too the feelings you would feel when she does that. I left the class and walked home in tears.
It’s not because I’m hormonal, or because I was in distraught. It’s just because I saw another piece of myself in you today. I knew how you felt too well. The one teacher you would talk to at school, the one you trusted, the one you made efforts to please. This teacher whose attention you don’t try to monopolize, but you’ve clearly let her know she has your favor. On a bad day like today when you are not getting much going for you so far, her disapproval suddenly became too much. Didn’t she know that you kept on getting called away from your tortilla press to do things you didn’t want to do at all? Didn’t she know you were worried about losing your tortilla press each time you got called away? Your mind was on it, so in your eyes, it was your friend Brooke who took away your toy without any warning. You counted on her to know these things. Then you went to get a harmless stamp on your hand, and suddenly she was there again disapproving of your action. You thought that she didn’t want you playing at that table at all, that her comment meant you were to put that stamp down, stop playing with it. You were hurt because of that. If it had been another teacher, you wouldn’t have reacted the same way.
My child, you don’t sweat the big things, many stuffs that could make others’ hearts break, you’ve taken them in stride. You seem to not be bothered by so many things that I’ve thought of you to be almost zen-like. But I understand days like today, when a moment of inadvertent inconsideration, or a bit harshness, or a bit of misunderstanding, those things hurt you in the heart. Moments like these don’t come often to you, just once in a while, and suddenly you are vulnerable. Some days the pains will come from people you care about. Some days the pains will come from complete strangers. Sometimes the matters would seem so trivial, you would not be able to find words to explain why it’s so significant. But I know. i know.
I left you as you were because I know you will be fine, and you will learn. It’s the reason why you are in school. I came back 2 hours later to pick you up and you were just your usual self. You probably won’t have nightmares about it, nor will you cry in your sleep. If you are like me.