Friday, May 16, 2008

"She's a handful."

"She's a handful." I have heard this words as recently as this morning (from the paraprofessional in her kindergarten class) and for the last 6 years from family members, friends, child care providers, strangers. It's sorta like the conflict in the Middle East--we are all aware of it, we do our best to deal with it, and we pray for peace.

This morning I, along with several other parents, came to help Maya's teacher while she had a guest come in to do a puppet show and help the kids make puppets. I arrived while they were in the middle of making their own puppets, and I was greated at the door by another mom explaining to me, "Maya is sad. We don't know why." I looked over at Maya's table to see her crying, her half done puppet sitting in front of her. Her friends were all trying to console her, but they didn't know what was wrong. They look at me for an explanation as to why Maya is crying. I can't explain it to them, either. I take Maya out in the hallway to have a chat. She just says she doesn't want to make a puppet, she doesn't have a reason. I say, "There has to be a reason." She says there is none. I offer several possible reasons to see if she will respond: 1. She doesn't like the way her puppet looks so far (it is adorable, by the way...see posted picture) 2. She thinks her puppet isn't as good (in her eyes) as her friends' puppets 3. She is having an argument with a friend. She denies any of these reasons, and, quite frankly, I believe her. When she does have any of those issues, she typically tells me so that I can help her deal with it. But this time, no reason. I tell her I can't help her if she doesn't tell me what the problem is. She says she simply doesn't want to make a puppet. She continues crying and starts to have a bit of a kicking/screaming tantrum in the hallway. I am starting to lose my patience. I tell her that it doesn't matter if she doesn't "feel" like making a puppet---that if the teacher says she should make a puppet, it is her job to do so. Just like Daddy listens to his boss and does what he is told at his job--even if he doesn't feel like it. Just like I make dinner and do laundry every day, even if I don't feel like it. We all have our jobs to do, and her job is the be a respectful student and listen to her teacher---even if she doesn't feel like it.