April 16, 2013

No peeing on the playground.

Posted in Parenthood tagged , , , , , , at 12:31 pm by openendedcomment

When your child is kicked out of pre-school after managing to download Robin Williams on YouTube and then reciting a routine verbatim on the playground, it’s time for drastic measures.  Catholic School.  My youngest son was enrolled at Faithful Shepherd for Kindergarten as it was determined by his pre-school teachers, his parents (me included) and anyone who had ever met him that this child needed discipline and structure.  We were (all) horribly wrong.  By the end of the third quarter I was kindly asked to not re-enroll him for first grade.  Now, let’s be clear.  He never hurt anyone.  He never bit, hit, kicked, teased or bullied.  He did not swear (at least not in English)  He did,  however, question everything and for lack of a better way of putting it…acted like himself.  A little boy who will not conform.  He has continued this through fourth grade and, to my delight, has not been asked to leave school since.  Though it’s been close.

You may ask what on earth a five-year old could have done to be banished?  As it turns out, many things.

In Kindergarten, at a Catholic School, religion class begins with the book of Genesis.  As his teacher was reading and explaining all about Adam and Eve and the garden of Eden, my son, Adam,  raised his hand.  Mrs. M. : “Yes, Adam?” Adam:   “Ummm, so you’re telling me that God did all of this in six days, right?”  “Yes, Adam.  He did.”  Adam:  “So, what are fossils?  Conspiracy theories?”

In Spanish class, they were learning their colors.  My son, semi-fluent, was bored.  Bored five-year-olds are dangerous and occasionally annoying things.  He was annoying everyone.  Mrs. O: “Adam, really.  Sit still.  You don’t have to do colors.  You can say anything you’d like, as long as it’s En Española.”  Adam: “Anything?”  Mrs. O : “Anything”  Now, right here I’d have to put the blame squarely on the teacher.  If you know my son at all…even a little…you know that wasn’t a normal conversation.  That was a dare being issued and then accepted.  Adam: “Punta.”  I suppose it didn’t help that when I got the call from Mrs. O, my first reaction was “Oh, fuck. He didn’t.”

The Christmas Pageant at his school was darling.  At least it was supposed to be.  They (the teachers) were bright enough not to give him a speaking part, micing Adam in mixed (and pious) company is not a bright move, but they were dumb enough to place him front row center in the angel chorus.  There he was, along with all fifty kindergartener students, in his little suit with a halo of gold foil sticking up over his head.  As is always the case at these functions, they took a minute or two pre-show to allow parents to snap pictures.  As we were snapping away, in total silence, Adam spoke.  Rather, Adam shouted  “Hey!  Mom!”  I waved  “Mom, look!” as he pointed to his halo “Irony, right?”  The entire parent section burst out laughing as I slid down in my chair.  He wasn’t done.  I knew he wasn’t done.  As the pageant progressed and the little six-year-old Mary and Joseph attempted to get through the show, my not-so-angelic son heckled them on.  The inn-keeper refused to give them a room.  Adam: “Aaaand you’re going to Hell”  Joseph forgot his lines when the Angel Gabriel came to visit and asked if he’d still accept Mary, pregnant and all…Little Joseph “Ummm…I forgot”  Adam: “Yeah, you do, or Jesus would have been a bastard.”   Little Mary, throughout the last scene, had a hard time holding onto Baby Jesus, his plastic doll self kept falling.  Adam : “Mary!  C’mon, you’re killing the son of God”  And my favorite, when the three kings brought their gifts, “Cheap for a King.  They should have brought diamonds or at least got these guys a room at the inn.”    *sigh*   I could do nothing but sit there and wait for it to (finally) be over.

There was also the time he managed to get the entire school evacuated by convincing the other fifty kindergartener children to dump milk down the boiler.  And during the Spring concert, when he “conducted” the whole way through and inserted his own lyrics.  The time he went off about Catholics being vampires, drinking blood…the time he peed outside at recess, and when put on time-out, called the teacher a hypocrite because the school was teaching them about water conservation and he was “conserving water by not flushing.”  So many examples and far too many phone calls home.

Oddly enough, as soon as we put him into public school, he was better.  He still gets in all sorts of trouble, but not to anywhere near the same level.  This is a child who can not and will not be contained by any boundaries of thought.  Church was always a challenge for him.  He’s spoken up at several masses and made all sorts of off-color comments.   Once in front of forty priests that were gathered for my daughter’s first reconciliation.   To their credit, several laughed when he asked if the guys that stabbed Jesus after he was on the cross could ask forgiveness and be absolved, or if they were pretty much screwed.  And though he makes me mental and though parenting him is a daily challenge, I love that about him.  I love that he questions and forms his own opinion.  I love his acerbic wit and the way he can see the humor in just about anything.  I love that his brain works a little bit differently than most people’s and today, as I’ve just gotten a call about a science experiment gone wrong, I need to remind myself of how wonderful his outlook can be.

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