Thursday, September 6, 2007

Can you spot the trend in our house?

Breakfast. Z. is resisting wearing the shirt she wore last week to the first day of class. We are using a variety of approaches to avoid switching shirts, because switching shirts is not something that Z. is allowed to do in the morning. We have arrived at discussing the new classroom, and how she feels about it.

S.: Do you miss your old teachers?
Z. nods gravely.
S.: Do you think your old friends miss your old teachers, too?
Z. nods.
S.: Do you think your new friends miss *their* old teachers?

(we discuss which new friends had which old teachers last year)

Z.: My old frwiends miss *my* old teacheuhs.
S.: They miss P. and C.
Z.: And R.! R. isn't dair anymorwe because she's sick.
S.: Yes, she has a big sickness, so she can't come to school anymore. If she had a little sickness she would be back at school.
Z.: And we can go to heuh house and put a band-aid on her sickness. And den she will get betteuh!

I was surpressing tears at this point. Teacher R. isn't back because she's dying of cancer. I was hoping that being out of her old classroom would let us sidestep the question, but it looks like Z. is going to cross that bridge somehow when we get to it.

* * * * *

Z.: When I'm a kid I'll get my kid teese, and when I'm a gwrown-up I'll get my gwrown-up teese, and I'll keep dem til I die!


Magpie said...

That cancer thing sucks. I haven't a clue about what I should be telling Miss M, if anything, about my mother. Though she knows a bit - she had to hang out in the waiting area while my mother had a scan recently, and Granny looks like hell because her hair is mostly gone.

kathy a. said...

(((( s )))) and (((( magpie ))))
and (((((( all the little ones )))))

for what it is worth, i'll pass on some excellent advice that we got when my kids' caretaker died suddenly. [son was almost 5, and daughter almost 3.5; the other kids were in the same range.]

[1] really listen to what your kids talk and ask about -- don't offer more complicated explanations than they are asking at the time. death is not an easy concept at all.

[2] it is really OK for kids to know their parents are sad, too -- reassuring, even.

and [3] little kids are trying to make sense of the world, and they may blame themselves for a death. i didn't believe this at first, but most of the kids at this daycare did feel guilty -- that they had broken a rule, or they remembered saying something mean to the caretaker.

the cancer really sucks -- we had that later, with daughter's good friend and my dad. my own belief is that when people are sick, we try to let them know we love them. and everyone, even the little ones, can send a card or help bring a dinner or whatever.

i try to use language of comfort and love -- "we love you" and "i hope you feel better" -- instead of a generic get well soon [which may not make any sense for a serious disease]. but a bandaid from a sweet student sends the same message of love, in my opinion.

sorry for being overly talkative. my dad died 4 years ago today. i've been thinking a lot about death, myself.

S. said...

Magpie, I'm so sorry about your mom. The cancer thing sucks the big one. We watched Teacher R. go through it for the past two years--no hair, and her face ashen, and compression bandages for edema, and she couldn't carry the little ones. But she's got an unbelievable constitution--she kept going to work with stage 4 cancer for six years. The mind boggles.

kathy a., hugs to you on this hard anniversary. We may just send Teacher R. a box of band-aids: Z. would like that. Band-aids are her favorite thing these days, second only to Puppy Pie.

Jenny Davidson said...

On a brighter note, I am glad to see you are encouraging good dental hygiene, it's definitely been a theme over the last few days...

Furrow said...

What a tough situation. This parenting thing is going to be hard, isn't it?

On a lighter note, I'm glad there's no shirt-switching rule in our house. I'd be in violation every day.

S. said...

Jenny, what you're seeing is the evidence of me being back on primary weekday parent duty!

And Furrow, the no-switching-shirts rule is because she will take every opportunity to tantrum in the morning before school. Every decision is a potential tantrum point, so she doesn't get to decide things like which clothes to wear or what breakfast food to eat or really anything at all.

Julia said...

Shit.. I'm sorry.

Magpie and Kathy A., I am sorry too. This is not the kinds of conversations we want to be having with our kids. But we must, and we do.

liz said...

I think her teacher would love a gift of bandaids from her sweet student.

Hugs to you all.

S. said...

Well, we now have a picture and a special purple cat band-aid all ready to go as soon as I find a big enough envelope. I talked to the director at school, who's in touch with R., and she's bed-bound, now. I'm glad i have a Staples run to make today.

kathy a. said...

purple cat bandaids are the best! one would make me feel better.

niobe said...

What a difficult situation. Though I have to say that sometimes young children have unexpected reactions to death.

I know a young boy whose beloved great-aunt died unexpectedly at the age of 55, a few days before one of his frequent visits to her house. He seemed briefly sad and played "dying" games with his toys for a week or two. After that, he cheerfully reported to people that his Auntie Debbie was dead in the same tone of voice that he used for saying that he had a map of the whole entire world on his wall at home.