Tuesday, April 15, 2014

SOL: So that's what it's like...

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Last Friday, I was on my way to my intervention group when I passed by a first grade classroom and the bathroom across the hall. One of our first grade teachers, Ms. L, asked if I was busy, because one of her students, M, was having a meltdown in the bathroom. I told her I was on my way to my group, but that maybe I could coax M out of the bathroom and get her to come with me.

Ms. L said okay, so I did, and M did.

All down the hall, M cried. Loudly, no tears, but loudly wailing. I got her into the conference room where we have our group, had her sit down, and talked to her briefly as my fourth and fifth graders arrived.

She did not want to hear what I had to say! Now, I don't have lots of experience with first grade meltdowns as my prior ten years were at the middle school (although there are many similiarities!) so at one point I had said something like, "M, you are crying but there are no tears. I know you can stop so we can talk!"

And then, like a champ of weeping, she produced the read deal, almost on command. I was actually kinda impressed...and then pretty annoyed.

The wailing continued so I asked my kiddos to start reading their book from yesterday and I took her in the hall. She continued to cry. I continued to talk.

M: I want to see my brother!
Me: I can't take you to the middle school if you are crying this loudly!
M: <between wails> I had a bad day, I want a hug from my brother!

Me: Well if you could try and stop crying, then we could talk about going to see him.
M: But I lost the race, I just need my brother.
Me: Well, we don't get what we want by crying. So, if you could stop crying first, then you could hear a story from one of my friends in the group, and then we could sneak over to see your brother. But you have. to. stop. crying.
M: <silence>

The source of her sorrow? She raced her neighbor in her front yard before she came to school and lost, and now all she wanted was a hug from her brother (who is a sixth grader in the middle school, which is attached to our elementary school). 

So, I got her to calm down, got her in the room, B read her a story, and then I took her over to the middle school. As we walked by the tall lockers, almost twice her height, she took my hand. The crying had subsided, and she patiently awaited the moment when she would see big brother.

Unfortunately, he was in science and they had been outside. So, I told her we had to go back to first grade, but maybe we could try again in another hour. As those very words left my mouth.... magic happened.

As we walked back by the foyer that led to the door to our building, big brother's science class was coming inside. I called to their teacher, and as I asked where her brother was, M had already spotted him and was in a warm embrace before I could get the words out. Relief and a smile washed over her face, and one minute later, she reached for my hand, ready to begin her day.

I don't have any kids of my own yet, but making M feel better with a hug from her brother and then having her reach for my hand as we walked back to class: that's gotta be pretty close.

Such a sweet, sweet moment, and while there are many of those (in very different ways) in middle school, this is on that I'd never had experienced if I never would have tried something new at an elementary school. Definitely a highlight of my week last week!

Parents: It's like this, only better....right?

Have a great night!


  1. Being a parent is about being patient, persistent, and listening! Good work!

  2. Very nice of you to help M! She knew what she needed, and you were able to give it (him) to her!
    Parenting is every day, 24 hours each, of that. Exciting and exhausting!

    You're in Chicago? I'm in South Bend, IN. Nice to "meet" you at SOL Tuesday!


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