It's the sixth day of school, and Miss Victoria has - fortunately or unfortunately - gotten a reputation for being "good with" the "difficult children." Thus, every single one of them ended up in her band of Criminals this year. I have the nine year old first grader, the little boy whose Mom was addicted to crack when she was pregnant with him, the child who did not utter a word last year in Kindergarten, and the one - we'll call her Towanda - who sings at the top of her lungs for a few hours every day and hisses at me (a la cat, not a la snake) when I tell her she has to follow the rules. Towanda likes me though, and yesterday she leaned on me while we were practicing standing in line to go to the bathroom (we hadn't actually MADE it to the bathroom yet, and it was a dicey game trying to gauge how long I could make the Criminal element practice before it collectively wet its pants). Anyway, she leaned on me and muttered, "Aaaannnnnh, what's up, Doc?" I told her I had no carrots and she should show me excellent standing up straight.
Anyway, there we all are, and Miss Victoria says, "Okay, WITHOUT TALKING, everyone stand up....nope, sit down, you started to talk....WITHOUT TALKING...everyone stand up....sit down again, you started to talk....etc...etc..."
I kid you not. Eight times, we stood, got in line, started to punch each other and yell, and sat down. Four times we walked out into the hallway, started to jump, run, and yell, came back, and sat down. We were very very pissed off at Miss Victoria. We were half an hour late to lunch. But we got there. Quietly.
Towanda, however, wasn't having a good day. She sang more than her allotted three hours, put up her dukes when I told her to sit down, and finally - after we had practiced standing up to get on line for the afternoon bathroom break about thirty times (to no avail: we had to sit down again thirty times), she sat and refused to stand up again.
I got everyone else out into the hall just as the science teacher arrived - he took them to the bathroom, and I went in to deal with Towanda. Towanda was banging her head against the desk and looking annoyed (not surprising - I'd be annoyed if my head hurt that much). She yelled, "I'M TRYING REALLY HARD...BUT I MADE A DISGRACE."
Well that did it for me. Someone who is five years old and can use the word "disgrace" in a sentence gets my full attention. So I sat her down and we had a Talk. I told her a secret. I told her I liked her. She found that interesting. She found it so interesting that she was able to walk out and join the line and go successfully to the bathroom.
Yep, I like Towanda.