...quiet, about a lot of things...

Friday, November 10, 2006

And so it goes....

My job is weird. I am deeply touched by the kids I work with each day. That doesn't mean it doesn't get bizarre. This crazy story I from yesterdays bag of tricks.

I flit around..ok, trip around the halls of the k-3 elementary school where I work. I see the same kids every day, but I only spend an hour or so in each class. I spend the most time in Kindergarten. I have triplets, yep, identical triplet boys with whom I spend my mornings. Yesterday only two came to school.

"A" did not come. He is my highest needs triplet, very charming, very moody. I asked both "Z" and "J" what was wrong with A. Z is a wisp of a boy. He has grown taller than his brothers. He is quiet, and loves flowers of all kinds. His hardest challenges involve pencils and scissors. But he is smart as a whip. So when he told me that A's toe fell off, I was surprised. He isn't a fibber, and most all of his stories make sense. I asked him to tell me again. He said that his little brother "S" had slammed A's foot in the door. A had gone to the emergency room....and his toe fell off. I explained that I was sure that he was just getting checked out, maybe some stitches.

Then, like any good teacher would, I went to brother J.J is the smallest of the triplets, with softer features and the voice of a child much younger than he is. Language is his weakest skill, so I put on my very good listening ears, and asked him the same question. He agreed that S had "stuck A'sfoot in the door" and it was bleeding.

I was now fairly sure that A had a pretty sore toe. But it was a quiet day, I must confess, with him gone. The other brothers got more one on one time, and then class was over without incident. I was off to the next child on the list.

When I returned to kinder, later that day, Mrs. Muffett, the Kinder teacher, stopped me on the way to the desk of another child.

"Wendy," she said under her breath, "He was telling the truth..Zwas telling the truth! A really did have his toe cut off...by his baby brother. He slammed the door on his foot..mom took of the sock to see how bad it was...and there was the toe..disconnected!"

S, the baby brother, is at my guess, 4 years old. I had to find a miniature chair and sit down. I was dumbstruck.

Oh poor A!!! and the mom...she's a nurse so at least she new to save the toe...which has been reattached, though they don't know if it will take...and Poor Z, who had been telling the truth all along. I hadn't believed him..it seemed irrational that a 4 year old could do that much damage.

My mind was spinning as I finally made it to the table to help my last kid of the day. My last little guy has damage to his speech centers, so his language is random.. garbled, though consistently garbled. While working with our scissors, he let me know that his mom and dad were"broken"(divorcing). To express this he held his hands up and motioned like he was snapping a stick in two pieces. We "talked" about it. I asked him if he was sad. He said " manny wa". Very sad.

Checking back in with Mrs Muffett, I asked if the info I got was correct. She looked stunned as I repeated what he had "told me". It was all true. But she was amazed that he had made himself "understandable" to me. I shared that just tried to follow his intent. and just understood. I don't know how.

Driving home, I marveled at the day. These children tell you so much, if you just listen to them. There lives are unpredictable, violent, and real..They deal with life directly, just as simply as learning there A B C's or that snack time comes right after recess. I have to say I find them heroic.
posted by wendy at 4:08 PM


It was so nice reading your blog. Nice, for many reasons, but, mostly, my son is in an "extended day" kindergarten, he goes to a class for speech and OT in am and kindergaretn in pm. It's nice to know there are teachers who listen, REALLY listen to them and care for them. I am a teacher and I love my kids and listen, but as a mom, I worry! Who will love my boy like I do? Thanks for sharing! And thanks for visiting my blog!

11/10/06, 9:14 PM  

This was a pretty neat post to stumble upon - I have identical triplet girls, and now I'm worried for the lives of their toes. Thanks for the story!

11/10/06, 11:05 PM  

Wait, there's a woman who is a nurse and has identical triplets in kindergarten AND a four-year-old? I cannot fathom this. It's almost a bigger concept to grasp than the toe that broke off.

11/13/06, 2:56 PM  

I think you're pretty heroic, Wendy, the way you pay attention to these kids and help them communicate. The work you're doing is so important. Thanks for sharing these heartfelt stories. I love the humour that underlies your writing - i.e. had to find a minniature chair and sit down.

11/18/06, 5:59 AM  

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