Monday, November 29, 2010

Early Training

It's never good when one wakes up after only three hours of sleep and then stays that way for at least two more hours after.  I wish I can turn off my brain but when you hear something quite disturbing from your child the night before, you're simply destined to stay awake.

Last night, after story time and we were getting ready for bed, I was surprised that Noah was still in the mood for talking.  So I let him.  Oddly, he gave me details of what goes on in school and for the first time, I got a clear idea of what a typical day looks like when he's in school and I was very happy that my son was able to describe everything to me (after 3months of prodding him).  However, there was one part of his story that caused me discomfort, to say the least.  

Hand Pointers
He was talking about 'the pointer'.  As it turns out, there's a portion of the day when the teacher calls on a student, hands to him/her the highly coveted pointer and then the student gets the privilege of pointing at the calendar to show what date/day it is.  I'm not so clear as to how this whole thing goes but the bottom line is that my son is desperate to be able to hold that pointer.  But then he sadly declared to me last night that he has not had his turn yet.  I tried to console him that maybe it's alphabetical and soon, when they reach 'N', he'll have his turn.  At this point, however, he insisted that everyone has had their turn EXCEPT for him.  I highly doubted this and again, convinced him that he could be wrong and that all he needs to do is wait.  And then the clincher happened.  He suddenly declared, "Oh I know why they don't let me have the pointer!....It's 'cos I'm different from my classmates!"

My heart sank.

There was this big, unbearable lump in my chest that wanted to come out.  My brain was racing.  My fingers were itching to rush to either the phone or my laptop to contact the teachers at 10 p.m.  

I was going to explode and it took every fiber in my being to control it and give my son the impression that everything was okay and Mommy was handling this.  All I could do was pray that my baby was not feeling what I was thinking....that which I've always been afraid of and would do everything to shield him from.

I was beyond shocked.  My first response was, What do you mean you're different?, followed by, 'Everyone's different.  You're different from 'B', he's different from 'C', 'C's different from 'Y', and so on and so forth.  We're all different from each other.  Nobody's exactly the same.  The only important thing is that you're a good person, that's all.'

I don't know what Noah was thinking but soon after, he got over it and was ready to move on to another story.  He did not seem sad, offended or broken.  (Unlike his mother who was a mess internally at that point).  I could do nothing but assure him that I'm sure he'll have his turn and promised him that I will be volunteering soon so I can spend a day in his classroom to observe how things are really done.  

I honestly don't know what to think.  I don't want to assume anything negative at this point but again, the Mother Bear button has been activated and the paws are up and ready to strike.  At the same time, I am well aware that I don't want to antagonize the teachers, that I need to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and that solutions or resolutions often surface after much calm rationality.  

I remain optimistic that I will get to the bottom of this soon and find that my son will hold 'the pointer' and have his day.  I know all that can be arranged.  That's the easy part.  What I am most afraid of now is the fact that my son has felt something; that something has surfaced in his consciousness.  I have always known that Noah is a sensitive, receptive person.  That's great!...But that can also be to his detriment.  I mean, how can a three-year old even think those words and mean them in a negative light....that he's deprived of something because he is different???  He could be objectively wrong in thinking that, but is that the point?  Isn't the point that he felt it, perceived it?  That is the part that no one can invalidate.  That's something that can't easily be erased or undone.  One side of me thinks, Well, why would you want to erase it?  It's good for him to know this early that life is not fair and people are neither always treated equally, nor meritocratically.  However, another side thinks,  It doesn't feel right to even partially rob him of his innocence, take away his 'Sesame Street glasses' with which he views the world

In the end, I know my son will be fine.  I still believe that parents are given children they are meant to have, children whose personalities they can (for the most part) nurture.  What confronts me now is the fear, pain and frustration knowing that this is only the beginning.  To believe otherwise will be totally naive of me and will only rob me of the opportunity to equip my child as best I can.  I would bleed for him if I could, but realistically, I can only bleed with him.  I can shield him with every power I have but that would only disempower him.  Though I will always be a mother to him whose primal sense of protectiveness can never wane, I'm afraid all I can really say to the world is





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