Monday, November 26, 2012

Check Yes or No

My very smart, very sweet second grader always brings home graded work on Mondays in his aptly named Monday folder. Keaton is very good at math and reads like a champ!  Handwriting and spelling, however, are a little challenging for him.  I chalk a lot of it up to him being young (he'll graduate high school at 17). I hate seeing him struggle with anything, but some day (probably soon) a computer will handle all of his handwriting and spelling challenges, so I'm not too terribly uptight about it.

Today he brought home a letter he had written in class. His fantastic teacher wrote a note at the top about how great his handwriting was on this particular assignment, and I must admit I have to agree. His spelling wasn't perfect, but I could pretty easily make out all but two words. Here's what I read:

"Dear Mom and Dad from Keaton. I'm sorry for being disrespectful and for ______ you. I'll not ______ you from now on. Forgive me please. Circle no or yes."

Hmmmm....This was perplexing. I couldn't think of anything in the immediate past that he needed to write an apology letter for. There was that pantsing incident, but it's ancient history now. I asked Trey if he could figure out the words, and when he couldn't we called Keaton in to read to us.

Me: Keaton, I like your letter, but I can't make out one of the words. Can you read it to me?
Keaton: Let me see that.  Hmmm... that says "annoying"

Panic rose in my throat. Does my sweet, smart second grader think that we think he's annoying?  We are horrible, terrible people and my son is scarred for life. How did this happen?  I scanned my brain for any time I may have told him he was annoying me, and I couldn't think of any. I have regularly told the boys they are "driving me crazy," but annoying is just not a word I use with them. Clearly, however, I have damaged my son's self-confidence irreparably.

During my freak out, Trey started talking.

Trey: We don't think you're annoying! You don't annoy us!
Keaton: Yeah, I know. Maybe that's not it.
Trey: I'm sorry that you wrote that because it is not true. You aren't annoying at all!
Me (picture the lightbulb above my head): Did you mean "ignoring"?
Keaton: Yes!  That's what I wrote!  I'm sorry for ignoring you, and I won't ignore you anymore. Now you have to check yes or no.

I then flashed through telling him get in the bath get in the bath get in the bath do your reading do your reading do your reading pick up your socks pick up your socks pick up your socks, and I knew that he does, in fact, ignore me pretty regularly.

But he is sweet and smart and awesome (just ask him), so I checked yes. :)