Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Hug Is Worth A Thousand Words

I don't handle everything beautifully. (Gasp! She admitted a flaw!) I mean, sometimes a fart flies on the carpet and I just can't deal with it in an adult fashion. Sometimes, farts are just funny. However, it's not always just a fart I have to handle as an adult. Sometimes, I have to handle much bigger issues and occasionally (notice I said OCCASIONALLY) I falter.

For example, last year, I couldn't deal with the Vagina Monologues or the Foke You Incident of 2007. I'm not alone though. We all have our troubles with "touchy subjects" (Right, Weave?)

But this time, all seemed to go well...

Right before lunch, one of my little friends handed me a note she had found crumpled up on the floor. I carefully unfolded the contraband and discovered a disturbingly anatomically correct rendering of a penis, along with the words "Watch Out! This is for you!"

Oh dear.

Unfortunately for the little culprit, the handwriting was extremely distinct. I know who it was right away. The only problem was, this is the last friend I expected this sort of Dirty Talk from. I mean, all little boys sketch penises from time to time, I guess. I don't have one myself, so I don't know what the obsession is, but that's a conversation for another day. But this was a little too graphic, a little too far for my taste.

Some interesting facts - my friend, we'll call him The Artist, didn't give this note to anyone in a threatening manner. It had simply fallen out of his desk (Which is a freaking mess... I mean how many times do I have to say the words "an organized desk equals an organized mind"? ) onto the floor. The little girl who picked it up very clearly told me that The Victim didn't give it to her, she picked it up off the floor, in a bold attempt to help The Victim get organized, and discovered it's contents on her way to the recycling basket.

Ok. Deep breath. How to deal? Well, I think this would be a lot worse if The Artist had forced his graphic renderings on another children in a threatening fashion. Really, I have no way of knowing if those were his intentions. Plus, The Artist has no prior record for Gross Incidents involving the ever popular Body Parts (also known as penises, va-jay-jays, boobs and butts). I don't' want to just let this go, but I don't want to blow it out of proportion. In the past, I have made this mistake and somehow it just makes the misbehavior that much more tempting.

After lunch, I send my friends to their seats to do ten minutes of quiet reading while I talk to The Artist in the hallway. Now, The Artist and I have a very good relationship...I also have a good relationship with his mom, who does not play around. She is the ace in my pocket.

Me: Friend, check out what I found on the floor today.
The Artist: (turning several shades of horrified) Oh.
Me: Is this yours?
The Artist: (nodding)
Me: (I love your honesty, sweetheart! I mean, who doesn't love a kid who just owns up?!?) Ok. So let's talk about this...

I then launch into a fairly decent and appropriate speech about private parts, privacy and sexual harassment - all in child friendly language of course. We talked about how this would have been a major deal if he had forced this note on another child, how these images are private, how the wrong assumptions could easily have been made...blah blah blah.

Important note, during this speech (which never descended into yelling but rather, maintained a very honest tone) The Artist had tears rolling down his cheeks.

Bingo! He gets it!

I told The Artist that I had to decide whether or not to tell The Weave and whether or not to call his mom. It was a hard decision. But I told him that I decided to do neither. That this time, this incident would remain between the two of us. However, I made it clear that I will be watching and listening and the next time, which there shouldn't' be a next time, I will have no choice. Everyone makes mistakes, but smart people fix their mistakes.

"All right. Do we have a deal? Do you understand?"
The Artist nods vigorously, wiping away tears.
"Now go to the bathroom, wash your face and come back to class."

At the end of the day, The Artist comes up to me privately, gives me a giant hug and says,

"Thank you for trusting me, Mrs. Mimi. I really won't do it again."

Now it's my turn for a few tears...

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