“The behavior of some children suggests that their parents embarked on the sea of matrimony without a paddle” Earl Warren
It’s great being the mother of a child in school. Aside from the free time that I now have during the day, Jerry and I now really take an active role in Jenda’s education. We do homework together and are teaching her how to read and how to spell, and of course correct word pronunciation. To a large degree we have been successful. She no longer pronounces drink as ‘drank’ and we have eradicated ‘liberry’ from her vocabulary, so I feel like our teaching is paying off. Of course, she has taught us a great deal as well, in fact, we learn something new every day.
After the whole ‘I lost a stick for bad behavior’ trauma, we learned that there are far more horrible things in the life of a kindergartner than losing a stick. Jenda hasn’t lost any more sticks, but she has shared with us what can happen to the kids in school if they really get out of line, literally and figuratively. She told us about one little boy who is just really strange.
There is one in every class. I remember in kindergarten, there was a child in my class, who I am going to call Jackwayne. He was like some perverse Shakespearean prince, in that his name (which I have disguised) was all one name, like Macbeth. At any rate, he was just repugnant. He used to eat crayons, and he also liked to scoop the Elmer’s glue paste out of the big plastic jar and eat it off his fingers. But the worst was the fact that he would pee and poo in his pants and then spend the rest of the day stinking so bad he could knock the buzzards off a shitpile from 50 paces. He said it didn’t bother him, but here I am, 35 years later, so scarred and traumatized that I still have to sit near windows, even on airplanes.
Back to Jenda and her trials and tribulations. She came home recently to announce that one child in her class was very bad. He lost ALL of his sticks and was still being bad, so he was sent to the Hall Adjusters. Being that she is only five, and sometimes has difficulty with big words, I thought she said Hall of Jesters. To me, that sounds like a happy place where teachers send the class clowns. If they’d had one of those at my school, I might have been a better student. Then she said, “No, Mommy. Hall of Justice!” That sounded rather scary to me, but I was hopeful that the ‘kiddie Supreme Court’ had enough women and liberals to keep Jenda from getting too many demerits. Then, finally, she yelled “HALL ADJUSTERS!”
Hall adjusters? What the…?! Who and what are they adjusting?
According to Jenda, ‘Hall Adjusters’ is a room with a toilet in it and apparently not much else. So I had to ask, what do they do in there, slap the poo out of the kids?
“I don’t know, Mommy. I’m not sure.”
In Jackwayne’s case, it would have been too easy. In Jenda’s case, I never want to find out.
When I was a child, there was corporal punishment in schools, and then again once you got home, after which you were sent to your room. With today’s children, being sent to your room is hardly a punishment since many kids today have better electronics in their rooms than I have in my whole house. Ostensibly, the bad seed is taken out of class and into a small room, much like solitary confinement without Nintendo, and made to sit on a toilet until their parents come to get them…. I’m just going on hearsay, but it sounds pretty crappy, pun intended.
‘Hall Adjusters’ doesn’t seem to be working out TOO well, since I hear every afternoon about this child hitting Jenda and beating up her and her friends. I was ready to go to the school and raise hell but as always, Jerry’s cooler head prevailed and he said he will go speak to her teacher about the matter. That’s great, but while he was out mowing the lawn, I took her out of swimming lessons and am enrolling her in Taekwondo. And I am going to teach her that if any kid messes with her, she needs to just zap that kid right in the buhdoobies. Trust me, that will be much more effective than any hall adjustment!
So everyday brings a lesson in behavior modification and penance. I’m still haunted by the memories of Jackwayne and Elmer’s Glue, but through memory modification by Kendall Jackson, I am doing better. My hope is that Jenda will continue to learn and grow and accept the fact that there are just some strange, ill-mannered people in this world and we just have to deal with that. I want to make sure that she is understanding of others, but I also want her to be able to look out for herself, because if I have to do it, they won’t need the Hall Adjusters. Some kid will need the Hall of Pediatric Reconstructive Surgery. I mean, it does take a village to raise a child. But in my village, we beat, uh, adjust each others’ kids.
With all of my early teaching, when she gets older and starts taking Advanced Literature, ‘Crime and Punishment’ will be an easy read. Why I bet she’ll just breeze right through Dostoyevsky.
Yeah, she’ll be a kick ass student!