- Was he noisy or disruptive?
- Did he say a potty word or burp or fart to make the kids laugh?
- Did he take spare underwear to school for sharing?
- Did he run and hide from his teacher?
- Had he forgotten that hi-fives, not kisses, were the age appropriate gesture of affection?
Oh, the many, many possibilities that swam through my head (and left me feeling more than a little queasy.) I mentally formulated an appropriate apology/explanation for when Mrs. Call's call came.But Jack promised he had been really good. He had even helped a classmate when her lunch fell out of her school bag and scattered all over the floor. So why then, he wanted to know, would Mr. Gaebel want to see him? And would he yell and be very angry?
Jack fretted and worried all afternoon and into the night. We discussed the situation one last time before he fell to sleep and I tried to reassure him that he had nothing to be afraid of - Mr. Gaebel is such a nice man, and if something were truly wrong I would've already received a phone call (can you imagine my relief when darkness fell and no call had materialized?)
The next day came and almost went without any mention of visiting the Principal. This turned out to be one of those rare situations where no news is good news. Upon inquiry Jack nonchalantly admitted to a quick visit to Mr. Gaebel's office (who wasn't even present at the time) to sign a "Good Citizen" chart. He pulled a 1/2 sheet notice from his backpack that explained he had earned the privilege of signing this very prestigious poster because of his kind service to a classmate the day before. The notice also invited us in to see his signature at our convenience.
Any residual consternation immediately turned to pride - and confusion. Where had Jack's fear and par-paranoia come from? Had I been too harsh with my instructions (threats) regarding school behavior? Additional questioning led to the truth - Addison was the primary instigator of this situation.
Thing 1 only looks sweet and innocent.Earlier in the year Addison had warned Jack about the Principal's office and the big, big trouble that awaited him there. In one fell swoop she had managed to put a fear like no other into the mind of her inexperienced little brother. She had left him anxious and worried . . . and so very well behaved.
I have yet to discuss the matter with Thing 1. I'm not sure if she should be praised for giving Jack sufficient incentive to act appropriately at school or reprimanded for unneccesary indoctrination.
Mr. Gaebel - He's hardly the scary guy Jack would lead you to believe.