Four weeks into the academic year and already, I'm being schooled.
First of all, let me apologize for the scant posting of late. I have been busy with Sprite, her lessons, and even that pesky thing called a job since I now work longer hours in order to score every other Friday off so I can be available to volunteer at Sprite's elementary schoool.
Yes, I'm one of those moms. I even joined the PTA (I can almost hear the "unfollow" button being pressed on Google Reader now.) which hasn't had its first meeting yet since the school is brand new and still trying to find its pace. I knew from the beginning, that I would be this involved, not necessarily so I can spy on my kid, that part is strictly icing, but to help the teacher when needed, see the kids in action, and even more importantly, reinforce the examples I see the teacher setting.
I'm not going to frost this Spin with how my kid is so smart, bright, intelligent, adjective, adjective, adjective, is she done boasting yet? because I am frustrated.
Let me set the scene for you:
I'm sure every school has its own behavior charts and how the kids are expected to behave. This particular school has three colors; green, yellow, and red that set the standard. Green is good, yellow means at least two warnings had already been issued and the child still decided to sing "Baby Got Back" while in line for lunch, and red means the kid basically held the class hostage for a caseload of twinkies and a thousand dollars in small bills, since a Kindergartener can only count by ones anyway, which is usually accompanied by a call home to Mom or Dad. And to top it all off, the elusive blue, the color that comes with butterflies and unicorns bearing its ethereal weight, a color which can only be earned by going above and beyond, maybe building the teacher a footrest or teaching the class Spanish when you're done with your own work, rounded off with a trip to the treasure chest while everyone else looks on in envy and plots your demise at recess tomorrow. Only one child in her class has earned this blue, and was sadly never heard from again.
Sprite has achieved every color EXCEPT blue.
Now, I can pretty much explain the red. Or John and I think we know the reason. It's only happened once, a Wednesday about two weeks ago, when we woke up a bit on the late side. Rushing to get her out the door and to drop off, we gave her the go ahead to have a school breakfast. (It's free in our county.) I dropped her off on time and set off for work myself.
Around 11:30 in the morning, my cell phone rang. I didn't recognize the number, I should probably admit here that I had programmed Tom Hanks' voiceover of "Houston, we have a problem" for the school's ringtone, but that would just spell out how cheesy I am, so I didn't expect Sprite's teacher to be telling me what a hooligan (my word, not hers) my child had been all morning and how, even after only being with her for two weeks, she could tell that Sprite was not acting like herself. She placed Sprite on the phone, who immediately started crying and seeking forgiveness from both her teacher and myself.
Once the call ended, I couldn't concentrate on my work anymore. I know what Sprite is capable of, I know how far she pushes the limits when she really wants to, but this was completely unlike her. Why had she acted out so brazenly, laughing at the teacher, jumping out of her seat? I remembered that she had had the school breakfast and immediately looked at the county website to see what the menu had set for that morning.
Notables. Do you know what Notables are? If I could write a review, I would give it a bitch slap. These bags of breakfast include cereal, graham crackers or some other sweet snack, and a juice, which accompanied with milk provided by the school, are supposed to round out a complete nutritious breakfast. I looked up the sugar content from what she had decribed to me that evening and had to stop at 40 grams since I couldn't find the nutrition values for the strawberry milk she had so thoughtfully picked to drown her cereal in. 40 grams of sugar. In one meal. This is more sugar than she has in an entire day, if not two since we limit the sugar intake for the most part and banish the processed junk from our house.
By the time she came home, she was so tired, both emotionally and physically, even into the next day. So, yes, I am blaming the red on the fact that she basically overdosed on Malt-o-Meal Marshmallow Mateys.
But then there's the yellow and the bruxt of my conundrum. (Finally, gah, I can be so long winded!) The yellows have been just as often as the greens. The yellows usually mean talking when the teacher's teaching, yelling out when you should be using indoor voices, and trying to break into the teacher's lounge during music class. Sprite is mostly guilty of the first two. (I found the school's blueprints pretty quickly and destroyed them so I think she's too lazy to draw up another set..)
When Sprite comes home with a yellow, she loses dessert or television. She also writes a letter of apology to the teacher she's wronged, today she got to write TWO. I'm happy to say my child knows how to spell the word "sorry" even though that won't be a sight word for a good year or so, but I'm a big believer in owning up to her actions when she does them and I think letters are a good way to reinforce that.
I know she's a kid, five at that, and that I should anticipate a yellow now and then, but a yellow two days in a row like yesterday and today starts a trend which concerns John and me. So, I'm asking you veteran moms and dads out there. Are we expecting too much out of her? Is this behavior, even if she consciously spews out the correct answers when we quiz her on how she should behave, just par for the course in Kindergarten?
(Now's where I get to boast. Interim grades are in for the first quarter and my kid is acing reading and math. If she excels in grammar, I may have her start proofreading my blog!)
You know the rest. Please visit Gretchen and the other Spinners over at Second Blooming and even draw up your own Spin about education!
What, you thought the topic was about behavior? Now who's getting schooled?