Monday, September 29, 2008

Memorable Monday

I mentioned Thursday that I had a rough morning with three boys, one who was punching people all morning. This is J.F., who I think I'll call Twin Boy. (He and his twin sister are both in my class.) I just went back and reread all the posts from this school year so far, and I see I haven't written about Twin Boy yet, so here goes...

Twin Boy has had many "issues" since school started, the most troublesome one being his aggression. The very first day of school, he hit me at least three times. And, for seemingly no real reason. The first time, I simply asked him to find his name tag. He kind of grunted, then punched me. WTF?! It happened a few more times, like when I asked him to line up, and when I told him he had to wait his turn for the bathroom. Naturally, I spoke to Mom immediately about this. I had one of his older brothers a few years ago, so I'm familiar with the family. I believe there are about 9 kids in the family (all with J names!) and the twins are the babies. I've been really struggling to figure out how many of these issues are simply due to being babied for the past 5 years.

Over the next few days, Twin Boy hit me several more times, as well as many of my babies. I spoke to Mom every morning about it. Mom strikes me as being a bit "slow," (I promise I'm not trying to be funny) which I noticed several years ago when the brother was in my room. The father of this brood is about 70 years old, Mom is probably younger than me, so it's an interesting coupling, to say the least. I wish I knew the back story there.

The following Monday, Twin Boy had an explosive episode in which he beat the living crap out of his sister. He was kicking and punching with both hands and both feet. I literally lifted him up off her, and then removed him from the room. I went straight to the office and called home, hoping someone would be able to come get him. Dad answered, I explained what happened, and filled him in on what has been going on for the past week. He immediately started telling me about how Mom babies Twin Boy, and doesn't discipline him like she should. He told me he was from Nigeria, and he believed in spanking his children, but Mom doesn't do it like she should. Then he says, "I'm giving you permission right now to spank J anytime he needs it!" I almost laughed. Trust me, he is FAR from the first parent who has told me the exact same thing. Not that I haven't thought about smacking a few of the babies on the bottom over the years, but I would NEVER do it. Besides, I know that if I did, the very parent who gave me permission to do it would be suing me faster than I could blink an eye!!

Anyway, Dad said Mom wasn't around to come get him, but he wanted to speak to Twin Boy. I don't know what he said, and Twin Boy didn't utter a word into the phone. The next day, he had a MUCH better day. Wednesday, again, a fairly good day. Thursday morning, Dad brought the twins to school, and asked how Twin Boy has been doing since Monday. I happily told him that the past two days were much better. He says, "Ah, that's good. I've been whooping him in the morning before school." Jeez Louise!! NOT what I wanted to hear. Hopefully, after a "good report" that morning, Dad stopped with the morning beatings.

So, over the past four weeks, Twin Boy has had some bad days, even more really awful days, and a couple of good days. Thursday, obviously, was one of those awful days. When I called home, Dad said he would send Mom to come get him. That was at 11:15. Nobody ever showed up. Around 12:30, I knew I was reaching the end of my rope with him, so I asked Ms. W. if he could sit in her room for a while, which gave me the respite I needed, especially because I was still dealing with the other two boys. (This may be a good time to remind everyone that I have NO ASSISTANT again this year. Ugh!) I was hoping to talk to Mom and/or Dad the next morning, but neither of the twins came to school that day. Truth be told, I wasn't that upset about Twin Boy being out, but I missed Twin Girl. She has her own "issues," (for another post!) but she's generally a very sweet little girl. I guess Dad decided to keep them home after what happened the day before. I just hope it wasn't a day filled with spankings....

Today, Twin Boy started out a little rough. Before lunch, he punched two boys. Then, during rest time, he absolutely would not be still or quiet, which is annoying enough, but I was trying to DIBLE some of the kids. Finally, I had him come sit on the floor next to me, and warned him that he needed to be absolutely quiet because I was testing at my desk. Believe it or not, he was actually pretty good. Granted, it was only for about 10 minutes, but still, not bad! After I finished the last test, I had Twin Boy come stand next to me and have a little chat. We decided that he could be quiet when he tried, since he just did it, and that maybe he could try to be really quiet for the remainder of rest time. We talked about why he needed to be still and quiet, and how it was hard for his friends to rest when he was disturbing them, etc. I wasn't really sure how much of what I was saying was sinking in, but I hoped for the best. I made sure we only had a couple minutes more of rest time so that he could be successful at his first attempt. He was!

After going to the bathroom, we started our Math Centers. Usually, there is a LOT of fighting during centers because Twin Boy doesn't particularly like to share all the time. This is when he normally does most of his hitting. Today, he chose the center he wanted, and actually played nicely for a quite a while. The fact that I was sitting next to his center may have helped, but I was still impressed with him. Even better, the two boys he was playing with noticed how nicely he was playing, and said so! It was great!! This was done with absolutely no prodding from me. It came directly from the babies, which just made me beam with pride.

We continued our afternoon without any problems, and before I knew it, it was time to go home. I was calling tables to go to the coatroom, and suddenly one of the boys who had been playing with Twin Boy earlier again made mention of what a good afternoon he was having, and told me he wanted to give him a high five! I almost fell off my chair. It was one of the sweetest things I've ever seen. Then, naturally, ALL the babies wanted to give him a high five. Too cute! So what if we were going to be late for dismissal today, Twin Boy needed to get his props!! What a great way to end the day. Especially a Monday! Maybe it's a sign of what the rest of the week will bring...

That's when it occurred to me that I needed to thank all of my longtime readers/friends who must have been praying for me all summer. I know we all were hoping I would find myself at a new school this year, but I'm just as happy to be having such a great year so far, even if I am still at the Hell-Hole. (Good Lord, I hope I didn't just jinx myself!!) I think I'm really going to enjoy the 2008-2009 school year :) Just to be safe, feel free to continue those prayers ;-)

3 comments:

Clippy Mat said...

twin boy got lots of positive reinforcement from your other kids. that's great!! and they obviously learned the importance of this from being in your room. so well done you. another great day for your kids.

hopefully his aggressive behaviour will decrease further when he feels validated like that.
great job!

Suz said...

Hopefully the good kudos and your patience will help this kid come around.
I really wish they tested parents before they let them take babies home. They do before you can adopt animals..why not those who give birth to babies?

The Bus Driver said...

I'm glad that you are able to find a method to deal with TwinBoy's behavior issue. Hopefully his behavior will continue to improve.