The difference between our two children was starkly illustrated yesterday, with the help of their head teacher and a water bottle.
Hannah came out of school spilling over with the news that she’d been sent to see the head… (dramatic pause while my face fell and I wondered what Miss Goody Two Shoes I’ve Never Been Sent to the Head had done) …
“For good work!” she announced, smiling.
It was hard to extract from her exactly what this good work was, something to do with imagining what would be the best thing about being in Year 2 rather than Year 1.
As yesterday was school disco day, I saw her teacher later and she explained a little more.
“She wrote some lovely things about how she’d help the little ones from Reception settle into their new class. It made me cry!”
So there we are. An empathetic little sausage who brings tears to her teacher’s eyes.
Fast Forward to discomania… after a manic hour of Haribou sweets, skidding and playing tag, with thudding background music and flashing lights as accompaniment, it was time to extract Ben.
He was sweaty, wired for action and said he’d had a great time.
Then as we walked home, he had a different tale to tell,
“Something bad happened at the disco Mummy, and I want to tell you about it. At home. Just you.”
So we walked one of his friends home, fetched his sister from another friend’s house, and walked back.
My mind spun with imagined horrors,
- he’d been caught smoking
- he’d put the entire contents of the school down the loo
- he’d got into a fight and his opponent had been hospitalised
When we got home, I put Hannah to bed, then he beckoned me into his room.
“So what happened?” I asked, settling myself on his bean bag.
“Well…” and he explained how he’d managed to throw an empty water bottle at one of his friends.
“I shouted catch, but he didn’t hear me,” explained Ben. And amid the disco din the friend turned and caught the bottle with his eye rather than his hand.
This resulted in a lot of crying and a red mark, which then led to Ben being told off by the head and sent to stand outside his classroom for much of the disco.
He was obviously upset and worried, so I didn’t feel another severe telling-off was needed.
But I did trot out a few of the following…
“did you say sorry?”
“throwing things around is not what you should be doing, not at a disco, not indoors, not unless it’s a ball and you’re playing a ball game”
“you need to think before you act”
“what have you learned from this?”
“what do you think you can do next time to prevent anyone from being hurt like this?”
At this last question he retreated to his bed in tears and refused all offers of hugs.
I’m wondering whether he should write a note to his one-eyed friend.
It’s one of those accidents that happens sometimes when children are playing, but it does seem to happen to him a little more often than most.
He has the “stop and think” mechanism of a bull at a gate, but I did feel sad when he said,
“I’m an idiot, aren’t I?”