Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Banner Week

Last week was a banner week for my children. Not only did we have one child in crisis—one crisis at a time is relatively manageable—but we had three children in crisis. At the same time. Where should I start?

For the first time in their young lives, one of my children developed pneumonia. Was it Lucas who just so happens to be the sweetest, most loving child you will ever encounter when he is ill? No. Was it Nicholas who does nothing but sleep from the moment he contracts any illness until the moment he is completed germ-free and well again? No.

It was Sophie.

A sick Sophie is the bane of existence. She is not sweet. She does not sleep. When she is sick, my normally pleasant little girl becomes a roving beast. A monster who inhabits my bed, as well as my nightmares. A child who follows me from room to room—from one footstep to the next—complaining about how sickly she feels. Whining that her water isn’t cold enough. Her blankie isn’t warm enough. Her pillow isn’t fluffed enough. Her clothes are touching her. Her older brother is looking at her. Her younger brother is breathing her air. Her dog is inhabiting her Earth. Her mother is talking on the phone in her presence.

Sophie missed five days of school last week. An entire week! Her teacher was kind enough to send work home so she would not fall behind. Yeah, Sophie was as thrilled to see that as I was. And have you ever tasted liquid Zithromax? I accidentally tasted an infinitesimal drop and literally gagged on it. Getting Sophie to drink 6cc the first day and 3cc for four additional days was an exercise in not slamming your young child’s head against wooden table patience. On more than one occasion, I fully expected to be holding a handful of vomit by the time she was all done with her forty-minute display. I was never as happy as I was on Monday when I patted Sophie on her happy little fanny and sent her back to school.

Where she belongs.

Within days of the beginning of new school year, my youngest son was labeled a “frequent flyer” in the nurse’s office. This was not news to the school nurse. It was not news to me--I just so happen to have the nurse’s direct line on speed dial. It was not news to Ruanita, who has an uncanny ability to sense a fake injury or over-exuberant crying lag (usually related to “bumping his head” on the playground) the moment the telephone rings. It was only news to his new teacher.

Nicholas has an, um, unfortunate habit of hiding when he is nervous. I am not entirely sure where this instinct comes from. Probably something ancient and primal that is inherent within the complicated psyche of the human runt. Whatever the reason, my son is an escapist.

Last week, Ruanita and I had the pleasure of being told by Nicholas’ second grade teacher that he is highly intelligent. When Ruanita laughed unabashedly in the teacher’s face, she responded by saying, “No, I’m serious. He’s really smart.” As such, our little escape artist has been placed in an accelerated reading class taught by a rather imposing Mr. Anderson.

Mr. Anderson is big and loud and jovial. He often wears brightly-colored Hawaiian shirts. He always wears shorts. He greeted the class the first day by jokingly telling them that he was the meanest and best looking teacher in the entire school. Runt-ish little Nicholas immediately fled to the boys’ bathroom where he hid for the entire accelerated reading class period.

When Ruanita picked Nicholas up from school that day, she was met by Mr. Anderson who looked rather sheepish when he said, “Hmmm…your son is quite…um…literal…isn’t he?” Why yes, Mr. Anderson, he is. As a matter of fact, that is a perfect description of my son. He is literal. Extremely literal. He is the Sheldon Cooper of the elementary school set. He is also an escapist. And a frequent flyer in the nurse’s office.

I actually felt kind of bad for Mr. Anderson who, having not been warned of my son’s primitive tendency to flee and his lack of any discernable understanding of humor, called my house later that evening to check on Nicholas because he was afraid he had frightened Nicholas to the point of scarring him permanently. Fortunately, there was no scarring. My son remained in class the following day and every day since. He will remain there until his teacher cracks another joke that soars miles above Nicholas’ literal little head and forces him into hiding like the primordial cave-dweller he is.

My eldest son currently has an F in Social Studies. All of his other grades are A’s and B+’s. How, you may wonder, has he procured a flunking grade in Social Studies?

He misplaces things.

He misplaces things big and small. Where are his glasses? He doesn’t know. What did he do with his math homework? He doesn’t know. Why is he not wearing underwear? He doesn’t know. You get the point. He loses everything.

Last week, when questioned about the flunking grade I discovered on the Parent Portal website, he informed me that he lost his Social Studies notebook. He is required to take notes in class each day and turn them in to his teacher. These notes are 60% of his grade. He had been taking notes on separate, random sheets of paper—which he had, of course, neglected to turn in—since losing his notebook the week before.

Do you know where you lost your notebook? I don’t know. Do you need a new notebook, Lucas? I don’t know. Shouldn’t you be turning in the notes you’ve taken? I don’t know. Have you talked to you teacher? Yes. What did she say? I don’t know.

So I did buy him a new notebook…which he immediately informed me he lost the following day. Then he found it. Then he turned in the notes he had, realized he had numerous more he was missing, received ten pages of notes from his teacher which he recopied over the weekend, then forgot to turn in yesterday because there was a fire alarm during Social Studies class.

(Are you exhausted yet?)

In addition, he lost the lock to his locker the same day he lost his second Social Studies notebook. How does one lose the lock to their locker? I mean, it is pretty much attached to your locker, right? It’s not like you take it anywhere with you. Unless you’re Lucas.

If you are Lucas, you take it off your locker, place it in your backpack, forgot you placed it in your backpack, report it missing to the office, ask your mom for money to purchase a new lock from the office, fret about memorizing a new locker combination, laugh like a dork when your mother finds it in your backpack, report it found to the office, put it back on your locker, and wait to do the whole thing over again next week. I am heartily looking forward to the winter when we will add his coat, boots, scarf, gloves, and hat to the Lost and Found rotation at school.

And you wonder why I don’t have time to update this blog on a regular basis?


Anonymous said...

Shannon, I am literally cracking up. Tell Nicky not to worry as I don't mean it literally. Your kids are so damn cute and exhausting all at the same time. I love your writing and so enjoy following your stories. They will make a great book on mothering. And how does a teacher get to wear shorts every day in a public school?

Craig said...

I love everything about your blog!

Jessica said...

Oh my, yes, I am exhausted. ;) Hang in there!

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