Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Some say that your children are payback for what you did to your parents during your childhood. As we don't have kids of our own yet, I believe that I had a preview of what is to come with Leslie.* Suffice it to say that this 4 year-old was a chatterbox all day, and constantly out of her seat. Finally during nap time while she was rolling herself up in her mat and talking (not even whispering) to her neighbors I had to tell her to move her clothespin down a level. At that naive age I, too, did not appreciate nap time. I even threw grapes at the losers that actually slept.

We all had behavior systems growing up, and the teacher that I was substituting for used a weather theme: a sun is 'excellent' behavior all day; partly cloudy means that their behavior was not perfect; a cloud means multiple corrections throughout the day and a conduct mark, and the last level, rain, means that they have to sit out recess the following day. Leslie's clothespin was already on partly cloudy. She gets up, takes me by the hand and leads me to the weather chart. Pointing to the different levels she explains that if she gets a cloud her mother will be very upset and if she gets a storm (I swear that her voice starts to crack), she will not get dessert that night.

I sympathize with the poor girl. I mean, who am I to deny someone dessert? It was probably something really good that night, too - like chocolate cake or banana pudding with vanilla wafers. So I decide to make her a deal. I say, "Leslie, I love dessert and I don't want you to miss out on dessert either. But you are going to have to behave the rest of the day. It is 1pm right now. Do you think that you can make it 2 more hours?" She agrees, and as she walks off I am sure that she is thinking "sucker."

*Name changed

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