Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Misstep in our Mother-Daughter Dance

It's been a whole semester since Kinley and I started this little dance that has us spending each and every school day together.  And, generally, our dance has been surprisingly graceful.  Most of the time we waltz through our day hardly even realizing that our situation is unusual.  As was evident in my last post, though, we have experienced the occasional stumble. Here's another example.

I should have known better.  I should have listened to the little voice in the back of my head whispering, "Don't do it!"  I should have just put her to bed.

But I didn't.  I let her stay up until 9:30 to watch Dancing with the Stars.  And then I paid for it the next day in class.

Kinley and I have a deal that she can sleep in my bed whenever her daddy is out of town.  Since Josh was in San Francisco that night, I had a 9-year-old snuggle partner for the evening.  When she turned on the TV at 8:15, I didn't give it a thought since she never watches network TV in the evenings.  It didn't occur to me that she'd actually find something we'd both want to see.  It's not like we'd been watching the entire season of DWTS.  Heck, we'd never even seen a single episode in its entirety!

So when she stopped surfing on channel 6 and we both got sucked in, I wasn't that worried.  But then we REALLY got sucked in, and she convinced me to let her stay up to see the end of the episode.  I mean, who can resist sparkly dresses and Jennifer Grey's new nose, right?

And so there I was the next day.  Stuck in a classroom with 22 kids staring uncomfortably at my daughter who was weeping hysterically at the injustice of life as a student in her mother's classroom.  She'd had to pay a 20 Boyd Buck fine for forgetting to put her completed homework papers in the basket and another 10 Boyd Buck fine for forgetting to put her name on both papers. 

And that $30 was apparently more than she could handle on only 9 1/2 hours of sleep.  The poor Homework Checkers who'd had to collect her fines were huddling in a corner, apparently afraid that I might blame them for making my daughter fall to pieces before 9:30AM.

Thanks a lot, Jennifer Grey.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Surprising Mean Streak

My classroom runs well.  This is due, almost entirely, to my mini-economy system which ensures that each child in my class has some degree of responsibility for management-type tasks that need to be done daily.  Changing bulletin boards, checking homework, running errands, stacking chairs, erasing blackboards, vacuuming up messes, watering plants, passing out supplies.  Each child earns a salary of Boyd Bucks which can be spent in a classroom store or at our end-of-the-year auction.  The kids learn responsibility, and I have time to focus on more important things like teaching my students how to add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators.  Or checking Facebook. 

Just kidding. 


Anyway, one of the jobs in my class is the Remote Controller.  This person gets to keep the TV/DVD/VCR remote in his or her desk and is responsible for turning the TV on and off each day for morning announcements.  Announcements usually start at about 9:05 each day, and this semester my Remote Controller has a bit of a tardiness issue.  In case the Remote Controller is late or absent, it is the job of the Substitute to get the remote from the Remote Controller's desk and turn on the TV.  And, as you know from reading my second post of the year, Kinley is the Substitute.

When Kinley was in kindergarten, there was a little girl on the playground who – how do I say this tactfully? – drove Kinley nuts.  Kinley complained about being antagonized by this child all that year. 

So when Kinley found out that The Antagonizer was going to be in her class this year, she wasn't very excited.  And, The Antagonizer is also our Remote Controller.  (From this point forward, we shall refer to this child as RC.  That's for Remote Controller in case you're confused.)

Recently, Kinley has had to turn on the TV several times because RC has been late.  But then, because RC usually comes in before announcements are over, a sort of power play ensued because Kinley wanted to finish the job she'd started.  One day, I even had to speak to RC because she had jerked the remote from Kinley's hand when she came in and saw Kinley doing her job.

So imagine my surprise when the other day I tell Kinley to turn on the TV (since RC is late again) and I witness my daughter turn equally nasty.  During announcements RC arrives at the doorway, tardy once more.  She politely stays put during the "Mayflower Mill Pledge", and I see Kinley turn and look at her.  At this point announcements end.  I expect Kinley to put down the remote and walk back to her desk, allowing RC to finish the job and turn off the TV.  But no.  She looks directly at RC, turns of the TV, and then turns and smiles a VERY deliberate, nasty smile at RC before sashaying back across the room to her desk. 

I was stunned!  I had just witnessed my daughter antagonizing The Antagonizer! 

So I marched right over to her desk, squatted down beside her and said, "I can't believe what you just did!  Pay a 10 Boyd Buck fine RIGHT NOW!  That was just MEAN.  Nothing but MEAN."  And I stalked away.

Of course she started sobbing, but that was fine with me.  Give some people a little responsibility and they act like dictators.  And the last thing I need is a Substitute with a mean streak and ambitions of being Class President.  Et tu, Kinley?

I may not be able to "knock" the meanness out of other people's kids, but I certainly can my own.  Or at least I can bankrupt her.