Thursday, June 14, 2007

Calendar Boy

Every week in kindergarten, one of the kids gets to be Calendar Monitor. That is the person who stands up at the front of the class, leads them in the Pledge of Allegiance, does the days-of-the-week song, helps them tally the weather...there are about ten different jobs. It's the thing EVERY kid wants to do. Except N, who has spent the entire year insisting he was too shy to get up in front of the class. Wouldn't do it, even with a partner. Just wouldn't. So, meantime, every other kid in the class has had at least two turns, including April, who came from Korea just a couple of months ago and knows about 10 words of English.

Getting N up to do calendar was his teacher's last goal for him for the year. This is the second-to-last week or school, the last full week. The last chance. So, last Friday, Ms. F informs Noah it's to be his turn on Monday. N worries about it all weekend. We promise to buy him a water gun (the boy LOVES guns...I try not to think about what that means) if he does calendar. Ms. F lets him choose a buddy to help him through calendar. And still, on Monday, it takes 35 minutes...*35* get him to finally whisper "Put your right hand over your heart," and after that, his partner has to do the rest, though he deigned to at least stand up front while the partner went through the paces.

But then, Tuesday, a breakthrough: At first he was refusing to even stand up in the front ("I'm too scared," he kept saying), so Ms. F told him they would wait to do calendar until AFTER computer lab, so maybe he'd be a little more settled into the day and less scared. And he did it! And as with All Things N, once he was over that hurdle, he was over it. He got his water gun that afternoon, and has been soaking my house every since.

Today was my day to work in his classroom, and he practically swaggered up to the front of the room to lead the Pledge. And when he surveyed his kingdom, he noticed that a couple of kids hadn't yet made it to their assigned places. "Excuse me," he said, in a loud voice. "I can't get started until everyone is on the rug, you know." Bwah!

If all this isn't proof positive of the Power of The Cute, nothing is. I mean, really. How else can you explain him getting away with holding up a class of 17 kids for more than half an hour trying to get up the nerve to whisper seven words? If he weren't so cute, he'd have had his little butt kicked halfway to Utah by now...if not by his teacher, then by me.

But in all seriousness: Yes, I recognize what a huge step this was. Especially considering that, not two months ago, we were having to give him daily rewards to induce him simply to sit on the rug with the rest of the kids and not hide behind the bookcase during calendar time, or insist on sitting on Ms. F's lap, or whatever.

Still I'm not satisfied. I mean, the kid drives me nuts! How can I possibly reconcile all of that tsuris with what he did today? Which was, in a word, to spend the entire day on stage. Today was the school talent show; he and Em and Em's friend C did a dance to I Just Can't Wait to Be King, with N in a furry mane crawling around the stage roaring. They did three performances--two during the day, one this evening at the PTA meeting. PLUS, N's class did their Kindergarten Chorus performance of about seven songs for all the kindy parents in the middle of all that. And did he have any trouble? Not at all. (OK, he held his ears during one song when he knew his friends were supposed to scream at the end, but otherwise, nope. No problem at all.)

So let's review: It took ten months for him to stand up in front of 16 kids he spends 5+ hours a day with and lead them through a classroom ritual. It took ten seconds for him to get up in front of a couple hundred kids and adults, only a few of whom he knows, and roar like a lion.

Can you see why raising this chid is making me crazier than I already am?

1 comment:

Ambre said...

Easy. It's not being in front of people that makes him nervous, it's talking. If she'd let him play act the calendar with Emmy, while wearing a lion mane, he'd have been fine.

Does he know that people sometimes don't understand him? Remember at that age when Rebecca wouldn't talk? Now I can't shut her up.

BTW, Joey would refuse to do it just to be obstinate. Things could be worse.