Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ouch! I'm Wearing my Heart on the Outside of my Body

Yesterday when I picked Alyssa up from school, she came out of the building crying and very upset.

She couldn't even tell me what happened. I had to ask one of her friends. Apparently, a little boy told the teacher that Alyssa and another girl (his twin sister) hit and pushed him.

Alyssa said it was an accident. I'm not sure what she means by that. She's not normally the hitting type. Neither of my kids are. I wish I could have been there to observe the dynamics of the situation, because I don't know how to counsel her on what went wrong.

I asked if she hit him because she was angry with him, but she said, "No, it was just an accident." What does that mean? I'm confused. It's hard for me to imagine her just up and hitting or pushing someone. But, if she did, then she needs to know the consequences. I certainly don't want her hitting or pushing other children!

Anyway, the teacher had her apologize to the boy and said she would have to sit out on playtime the next day (today). Alyssa was confused by that. She thought if she said she was sorry that that would be enough. I had to explain to her that saying she was sorry was good, but that she made a bad choice in "accidentally" hitting someone, and that the time-out is the punishment for the bad choice.

So, since the event was at the end of the school day, Alyssa's punishment went overnight. (I think that was punishment enough!) The whole evening was excruciating for both of us. I felt like somebody ripped my heart out. She came to me in tears many times. She was worried her teacher was mad at her. She was worried about how long the time-out would be. She was worried that another teacher might see that she had a time-out and get mad at her too.

I tried to console her. Tyler tried. Paul tried. I even had her call a girlfriend from school. That actually turned out to be a really sweet experience! The girl was very caring and reassured Alyssa that everything would be all right. She made her giggle. She even said she would give her a prize if she was good during the time-out! How cute is that?

This morning on the way to school, Alyssa was pretty somber. I tried to cheer her up by making up silly songs about being in time-out, but it only worked mildly. (Might have been my singing!) All I can hope is that she learns something from this, and that we'll never have to deal with a problem like this again, and that this event scared her enough to always be on her best behavior at school.

I think for the first time I truly felt the essence of that Elizabeth Stone quote, "Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." Wow.

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