The Mysterious IT
Like popularity. I have one son with that mysterious something that makes everyone like him and want to be around him. "A cool dude in a family of nerds," say his sisters.
And that's all I'll say about him, except that he just has IT. The Cool It.
Then, some people have the Respect It.
Sometimes on Wednesday mornings I volunteer at school and help with the first and second graders. Now and then I'm left with the little first grade boys while the second graders are having their math class.
These boys are unusually active, I think, even for boys. And they do not listen to me.
It is odd. I put on my best brisk, all-business, no-nonsense Mom voice and try to talk like I fully expect them to do what I say.
It doesn't work.
A few weeks ago I was doing math flash cards with the first graders. They bounced around and acted crazy. One of them acted like he was strumming a guitar and singing the answers in a country-song twang. I managed to stop him when he sang about his woman leaving him.
I commanded. I took fuzzies out of their jars. I demonstrated how they should behave. Nothing worked for long.
At the supper table I talked about this. I said, "Maybe they aren't capable of holding still. You know how boys mature more slowly. Maybe they just can't."
Paul said, "I don't know why you have so much trouble with those first graders. They're perfectly fine for me when I teach their math class."
Which brings us to my point: Paul by his very breathing commands respect from children. Now, granted, there is a lot of foolishness that goes on because he is oblivious and/or deaf, but if he tells a bunch of kids to stand in a line and do flash cards, they do.
And nobody wants to get sent to his office. Definitely not.
The family agreed: Mom is not Dad.
Jenny said, "Dad is just more . . . scary."
I said, "So, how can I be more scary?"
Jenny said, "You don't want to be scary."
I said, "Yes, I do. At least a little bit."
We agreed: if you don't have IT, you can't just decide to change this.
Paul said I can lay out the Mr. Smucker card next time if I need to.
Ok. I would.
Last Wednesday I once again was supervising little first graders. I said, "Remember last time you guys were pretty wild? Well, I talked to Mr. Smucker, and he said, 'Send them to me if they don't listen."
The boys said, "Oh. No. We don't do that here. Miss Stephanie doesn't send us to Mr. Smucker."
I said, "Mr. Smucker said I should if I need to."
They shook their heads. I obviously didn't understand. "We don't get sent to Mr. Smucker. Huh-uh."
I said, "We'll see."
They were supposed to be taking tests which requires silence. All of a sudden two of them, across the room from each other, started arguing. Loudly. I reminded them they are supposed to finish their tests without talking.
One immediately was quiet.
The other, who must have some latent Smucker genes, just HAD to fire back one more shot. I again reminded him to be quiet.
He snapped, "HE started it!"
Ooooohhh, the time had come.
I wrote a note and sent him to Mr. Smucker.
Mr. Smucker spoke to him kindly but got him to admit why he got in trouble. I don't think he enjoyed this.
I have a feeling the first graders will take me more seriously next time, not because I am any more scary or respectable, but because I will keep my word of sending them to the big guy that they all view with awe and a touch of fear.
Now the fact is that there are plenty of times, at home, that I am the strict disciplinarian and Paul is the big softie that thinks the child needs a lot more talking to and chances before the consequences start.
It has driven me crazy at times.
So why why why do children click their heels and salute when he walks by? And they ignore me.
I don't have IT, that's for sure.
Quote of the Day:
"Hey...would you mind bringing my brown fuzzy boots that shlompf shlompf? They should be in my closet. Thanks!"
--Amy, whom I can't wait to see this weekend at Justin & Esta's wedding, in an email today.