So yesterday the Criminals and I went to the UniverSOUL Circus. I will gloss over the fact that my school sent us to a Christian event (I kept waiting for the ringmaster to ask me to "give a shout out to" my synagogue...but he didn't. wonder why?), and concentrate on the Criminals' reactions to their first circus. Nary a one had been before, so they kept shaking their little fingers at me and saying "Noooooooo, Miss Victoria!" when I told them there'd be people flying through the air. They were pretty damned impressed with Miss Victoria when everything she said turned out to be true.
This year I've got Bradlee. He's six. He doesn't talk. Ever - well, almost ever. Bradlee has what's called selective mutism. He wouldn't talk to his Kindergarten teacher or classmates last year, he won't talk to any of the administrators or lunch ladies or guidance counselors or social workers. He will, however, talk to me. I'm not sure why - maybe because I'm okay with him if he doesn't want to talk? Every once in a while he comes over and grabs me around the knees and yells "PENCIL!" or "DOGGIE!" That means he wants the doggie book he likes. But usually, he's silent.
However, yesterday at the circus, Bradlee suddenly became positively loquacious. We got off the bus, we lined up, he took his place at the front of the line (of COURSE he's the smallest one in my class), he took one look at the circus advertisements outside the tent, glared up at me and yelled:
"I HATE CLOWNS!!!!!!!!"
There were, of course, about twenty five people from the circus standing around. They all looked at me like it was MY fault the boy has perfectly good sense!
So I mildly said, "you DO?"
He yelled "YES, I HATE THEM! I HATE CLOWNS! CLOWNS ARE STUPID!"
So then, of course, everyone else in my class (they all love Bradlee) felt the necessity to support him in his vehemence. They were all pretty surprised that he talked, but they were damned if they were going to let him stand alone.
Criminals: ME TOO! I HATE CLOWNS! CLOWNS ARE SO BORING! I HATE CLOWNS!
Teacher: (quietly to class) okay okay everyone, come on let's stay in line and go sit down
Criminals: MISS VICTORIA CLOWNS ARE STUPID! WE HATE THEM!
Teacher (watching all the circus employees glare) okay okay but look! They have lions and popcorn and funnel cake too!
Criminals: Oh! Okay! But CLOWNS ARE DUMB!
Well...at least they didn't refuse to go to their seats. Next time: The Tale of the Elephant Poop.