Sticky situations

Putting on my coat to get Asher at the bus stop, the phone rang. Caller ID told me it was the BOARD OF EDUCATION. This call usually means Asher is sick or is having a particularly bad day and that I should drop whatever I’m doing which is clearly inconsequential and get him. Well, he probably just sat down on the bus as the phone was ringing, so it seemed a bit peculiar to call at this point to tell me he’s unwell.

Besides, he couldn’t possibly be sick. The boys have caught everything that’s been going around this winter thus far, and he’s just finishing up his 10-day course of antibiotics for the grand finale of an ear infection. I might need to get them tested for gonorrhea tomorrow. That’s about the only thing they haven’t had.

Mrs. J, the school nurse, explained that Asher poured glue all over his head moments before class was dismissed. My first reaction was relief that he was not sick–in the germy sense of the word, anyway. He’s just got a case of Glue-Head. Then, I was confused. We’re talking about a kid who is very particular and neat and does not care for mess. “Asher?” I asked out of disbelief. “Yes, and he’s just been in to see the principal.” The principal?!? He’s got 2 teachers and an aide in his classroom, but that’s clearly not enough to deal with the severity of the glue infraction. Apparently, wearing glue is a CODE RED offense, and only the principal can handle such a crisis situation.

“Is he ok?” I asked the nurse. Asher doesn’t do well with shame, and I didn’t know if the principal simply told him not to do that again or if she chewed him a new one. If the latter, he was probably upset. “Yes, he’s fine. He’s just leaving to get on the bus.” “Ok.” I wasn’t exactly sure what to say next.

Well, I am simply appalled that Asher would do such a hideous thing!” or “What kind of zoo are you running that not one of the three adults in the classroom was able to stop him?” No, I wasn’t really feeling either of those.

The nurse broke the silence. “He said he was making the other kids laugh.” I confess. I was proud. My Asher is not good with the social stuff. He is awkward with other kids and sometimes even intimidated by them, but there he was finding ways to connect and entertain in spite of himself. Ok, I do think there are less sticky ways of making people laugh, but humor is an art that blossoms after years of experimentation and practice and polish. So, he starts with a little glue when he’s 7. Big deal! “Huh,” is all I can think to say. Now what?

“So, I’ll just go pick him up then. The bus is probably on its way. I’ll be sure to tell him not to pour glue on his head again.” But I couldn’t help laughing while I was saying it. The nurse was not amused. She hung up abruptly. She had done her job. This was the CYA call – Cover Your Ass. She wanted me to know that they knew that Asher had glue in his hair before I picked him up at the bus and had a hissy.

Asher got off the bus, and I gave him an admonishing look with a sprinkle of smirk. His glassy eyes cautioned me to be gentle. He anticipated my wrath. “I’m not angry, Asher. As a matter of fact, I think it’s kind of funny. Is that why you did it? You wanted to make people laugh?”

“No. I didn’t know what else to do. But then when I did it, the other kids did start to laugh and say EW! and stuff.”

“Ok, well next time you don’t know what to do, I want you to please tell your teachers before you do something that might be disruptive or inappropriate. What did the principal say?”

“She told me that I couldn’t put glue in my hair.”

“Ok, so now you have to promise me that you won’t put glue in your hair again.”

“I’ll try.”

“No, not I’ll try. I wasn’t upset this time, but if you do it again after I told you not to do it, I will be.”

“Ok. I won’t do it again.”

“Thank you. Let’s go home and wash your hair.”

I think it’s time to start teaching him some jokes.

Two cannibals were eating a clown. One cannibal said to the other, “Hey! Does your food taste funny?” Thanks for that one, Uncle Benjamin.

10 thoughts on “Sticky situations

  1. Seriously? The principal for glue in his hair?

    I understand the CYA call, but the principal? I think it’s worth a discussion with the teacher to find out why he was sent to the principal for that.

    Full disclosure: Joe was sent once — when he threatened to stab a kid in the hand with a pencil and then later hurled his computer lab headphones at the same kid’s face (there was some teasing involved, it wasn’t out of the blue), thusly scratching the kids eyelid. He didn’t even get sent when he flicked off the gym teacher.

    OK, I’m hesitating with this next part because I don’t want to gin up something that might not be there … but I’m gonna anyway …

    This makes no sense to me. I’m glad you’re not upset with Asher, but I’m angry _for_ him. I hate it when they take small things and make them big, making a good kid feel like they’ve done something bad. And what did he mean by “I didn’t know what else to do.”

    Hug Asher. I’m sorry he came home glassy-eyed. xo

  2. I agree that it is a bit over the top to send a kid to the principal for glueing themselves. The most important thing to me is that Asher knows how I feel about it.

    He didn’t know what else to do means he was left to his own devices and literally didn’t know what to do with himself. Learning not to glue yourself out of boredom is probably a good lesson. : )

    Thanks so much for sharing & caring, Angela. Hugs to you!!

  3. I think the principal was overkill. The nurse maybe to assess if Asher had glue in his eyes or ears, but the principal….no way.

    I work as a substitute in a public school, and if a kid did this in my class I would help the child wash it out in the sink in the classroom. Possibly the nurse just to make sure about the eye-ear issue, but no punitive action would be necessary in my opinion.

    I think you did EXACTLY the right thing for your son. I would have done the same thing. 🙂

  4. We once got a note from Miguel’s teacher that said: “Miguel’s moms, you will want to wash his hair many times tonight to remove the shoe polish from his hair.” No Principal’s office visit, just a snarky note from the teacher who thought it was pretty funny 🙂

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    heh. Now that you mention it … I remember — 3rd or 4th grade — gluing my hand out of boredom. A LOT. I’d smear a thin coat on, let it dry, and then entertain myself by peeling it off. I also remember discovering that it wasn’t nearly as much fun to peel it off my hairy arm.

    If it makes you feel any better, I almost never do it anymore.

  6. I appreciate your supportive words of a mom with older kids. Thanks, Carol!! I’d much prefer trusting my instincts.

    I wouldn’t mind some snarky teachers like that at our school, Luisa! How many washes DOES it take to remove shoe polish?!?

    Angela..OUCH! Some day I’ll tell you about my experience with liquid latex. Major OUCH. I am pleased to hear that you are avoiding the pain of peeling glue of hairy places.

  7. I would like to point out that Luisa commented on this post! Madness! Being sent to see the principal seems a bit much. It’s not like he loudly suggested that one of his classmates do something inappropriate to Megan Fox. Totally random example, of course.

    Angela – I did the glue on the hand thing too and I am a (mostly) productive member of society.

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