Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wee Ones Wednesday - Turning the Other Cheek

I mentioned almost two weeks ago that my eldest, Parker, was slapped on the face by a girl at school. They are in 6th grade and this is Parker's first time being slapped and I'm hoping it is the last. For those of you who know him, you can imagine how completely shocked and upset this event was for him. The way he recounted the events minutes after they happened (I was there picking him from school - we bike to and from school with him and usually one or two of his friends) he had not even been speaking with the girl directly or about her, in fact I'm pretty sure she wasn't even in his consciousness. They were not in any argument and there was little warning. She hit him on the shoulder first and asked if it hurt and when he said it didn't she slapped him and asked if that hurt. It did. I thought this was strange, but 11/12 year old humans are strange. They don't always think things through or think at all before acting. Still, I believe we should be able to ensure our children will not be physically assaulted at school. We talked with Parker about the incident and he was sure he wanted to file an "incident report". We said we supported him and trusted him to deal with the situation.

The next day he tried in three different classes to get a pass "to file an incident report". He said those words and each teacher said they would let him go, but never did. Things get busy and Parker isn't the most assertive kid in the class. A couple days after the slap, Rob offered to go into the office with Parker before school to file the report. Parker was even more sure about going forward since the girl had pinned him against the wall and was angry at him for telling people about the slap (she did it in front of several people so I'm not sure how she thought it was going to stay quiet). She never once apologized for the slap and continued to try to get him to apologize for telling people (he told one person and you know how that goes). This upset me more and if she had apologized that would have been the end of it, but she did the opposite of apologize and this made me worry.

Two weeks after the original incident, they were in the after-school, but on school property, club again (where the slap happened) and working with x-acto knives. She said something to the effect "You should be scared. I would stab you right now, but I would get arrested so I won't." She was on the other side of the table at the time with a knife in her hand. This was the final straw for me. The "incident report" had not be addressed in the week and a half since it was submitted and now things seemed to be escalating.

I emailed the principals and met first thing the next morning with one of them. Apologies and explanations for why nothing had been addressed and within hours Parker and the other student had been brought in separately and together. We had a rocky start, but I am satisfied with the way the school handled things in the end. We are quite lucky that Parker has such clearly caring and dedicated teachers and the administration came through as well. We are still figuring out the balance of letting Parker be his independent self and when to intervene, but we usually take our queue from him and we trust his instincts.

Parker was so upset to be "getting someone in trouble" that he was almost crying for her when she apologized and gave some sort of explanation in the office. The next class they were in together, he approached her and said "Can we be friends?" and she said something like "We already are." I really am amazed by him sometimes. I'm not sure I could have been so forgiving so quickly. He even said it was the best day at school yet. Nothing makes him happier than people getting along and peaceful solutions. I'm not sure if Rob and I are ready for middle school drama, but here we are and we'll go through it for the next nine years. Who said spacing children out was a good idea?
Parker attended two sleepover birthday parties in the last ten days. He is a homebody and likes to sleep in his own bed, but he had a fantastic time at both parties. The first one was just a block away so he walked over and was clowning around before he left. He thought he looked like an explorer with his backpack and sleeping bag. This party was for a friend he unfortunately doesn't see often, but they have known each other since they were little. The kids were having pizza so we ordered a vegan pizza and had it delivered to the party. We also sent vegan ice cream and baked goods. The food worked out just fine and a great time was had. The second party was at the house of a new friend across town and the mother was so awesome about making a vegan dinner, vegan cake, and vegan pancakes for breakfast the next morning. I met her for the first time while I was dropping Parker off, but we all were surprised to find out that she know my sister. Small town. Anyway, Parker raved about the dinner she prepared and I need to contact her for the recipe. He was very impressed and appreciative that the family thought of him. We've never really had any bad experiences with birthday parties, I guess we're pretty fortunate.
 Another first for Parker, he performed for the first time with the Drama Club. It was really a cute little play about middle school. They performed in the lunchroom at the school in the evening for a dessert theater. We signed up to bring a dozen cookies, but I brought four dozen. The kids requested Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles and Chocolate Peanut Butter Pillow Cookies both from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. I made one batch of the snickerdoodles spicy like my kids like them and then a batch toned down for the play. I used almond butter instead of peanut butter for the pillow cookies. Rob helped me with the filling and kept saying it seemed to dry so we put in way too much So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer (French Vanilla flavor, still working through the So Delicious coupons from VeganMoFom, best giveaway ever!). When I was assembling the cookies, I could tell something was a little wrong, but they turned out flatter than pillow cookies should be, but they were awesome! The filling tasted nougatty and I'll definitely make them like this again sometime. One of the parents selling the cookies at the play asked about them because they were quite popular.
Today was Josie's last dance class of the year. It was also a "audience day" where the parents get to watch and sometime participate. It gets pretty crazy, but Josie is usually very intense on these days and she listens to her teacher with complete and utter respect. Ms. Kate may need to take her for a couple months and then perhaps Josie will listen to us. Anyway, Rob rearranged his work schedule and took Josie to dance so he could be her audience member. She has been looking forward to this day for weeks! She also gave Ms. Kate a small token of our appreciation, a gift card to Common Ground Co-op. Josie was so excited that Ms. Kate was happy with the present. The pink outfit is from her BFF's Amara and Indigo and I can barely get her to wear anything else. She also insists on wearing half a dozen barrettes which are promptly taken out as soon as dance class is over.
Dema is enjoying special one-on-one time with our thoughtful neighbor, Margie. She borrowed a chapter book from a retired teacher friend and is reading a couple times a week to Dema at her house. Dema adores this time and they are on to the second in the book series. Margie doesn't just read to Dema, but she also gives him a special snack (and two to take home to his siblings). Margie introduced Dema to Justin's dark chocolate peanut butter cups, which he appreciates, but what he talks about non-stop after his time with Margie is the wonderful story they are sharing together. As the middle child, this attention just for him is priceless!
Parker has been asking for us to add more mushrooms to our diet. I bought a bunch at the co-op yesterday and made Thai-Style Coconut Soup. I can't believe it has been awhile since I've blogged about this one. So easy and you can make it hot or mild. I made a double batch today so we'd have enough for lunch, but Parker could also have some for dinner since he was at school. Our friend, Ernesto, was over prepping our upstairs for painting (yay!!!!) so he enjoyed a couple bowls too. We had apples, baked tofu sandwiches, and bananas with peanut butter and dried cranberries as well.
 Today with the first coat of primer. This is just a small section of the area being painted.
Here is the wallpaper I was taking off and the bonus second layer of old wallpaper and glue behind it.
Ernesto is amazing and was able to get more done in a few hours than I have been able to do in months. He is super efficient even with a four year old talking his ear off the entire time. Josie would not leave him alone and was trying to teach him ballet while he worked. He's a great sport! I can't wait to see the finished walls!


carey-olsen family said...

Wow! The walls are looking amazing. You must be getting very excited. Any color up yet?

VeganLinda said...

Gita, I am very excited! He is coming today to do more work. I'm hoping some color goes up soon. I can't wait to see it!