The main point of the conference was to say we have a really bright, creative, independent, social, and cute kid.
But then the teacher---who, by the way, is an incredible teacher---got around to what she really needed to talk to us about.
That would be the incident between Persistence and the Priest.
As you may or may not know, we've been lucky to send our kids to Catholic preschool. It's a wonderful, small, sweet, connected, caring, loving, welcoming church. The attached preschool is the same. (If you knew me, you'd know what a serious whiplash-like change in opinion this is for me. In Texas I learned to be very, very afraid of anything claiming to be remotely connected to religion. The mere mention of "God" or "Jesus" sent chills down my spine. And I am someone who always felt very connected to church, believed, had faith, so forth. I hesitate to even use the word religious because, well, it sort of had taken on the tone of a Republican saying liberal, in my mind. The Catholic Church has been a welcome open-minded relief.)
Let me give a little back story here (wavy lines wavy lines wavy lines...)...
When we moved here from Massachusetts we ran into a major communication problem. Texas uses the same words and language as Massachusetts but they mean something else entirely.
In Massachusetts, "bless you" is rarely used and means "sorry you sneezed."
In Texas, "bless you" is frequently used and means either (a) I hope God takes as much pity on you as I do or (b) SUCKER! or alternatively LOSER! I have found that when people mean well, they don't offer the blessing directly from them, they offer it instead directly from God, as in "May God bless you."
In Massachusetts, "Montessori preschool" means a school that emphasizes a child's self-directed learning with loving guidance but largely observation from the "teacher." You can count on a classroom that stresses adapting the child's learning environment to her developmental level, and using physical activity to help the child absorb academic concepts and practical skills. We are very convinced by the Montessori approach to education. In fact, we set up the children's playroom with Montessori principles in mind. I did the same, believe it or not, in grown-up rooms the children use, such as the kitchen, too.
In Texas, "Montessori preschool" means academically severe bootcamp for tots.
You see the language problem here?
So you can understand why---when we moved here---we enrolled Patience in a nearby Montessori preschool when they fed us all the right words, even if they meant them differently. You can also understand why we immediately unenrolled her (two months later) when the mistakes dawned us, largely through Patience having hysterics every single day.
My new neighbor---now a best friend, and someone who happens, by coincidence, to be from Massachusetts, versus just lived there for a while like we did---dragged me to her kids' preschool. She said the magic words, "Really laid back...very loving and caring teachers...think it's a good fit for you...we just hang out...oh yeah and the moms socialize, a lot..."
I signed up pronto and found a great school that was just what we needed: an open learning opportunity for kids, with emphasis on love and care and socializing. The director's daughter became our favorite babysitter, I joined the mom's group, made neat friends, had fun on the playground three days a week and life was good.
Most importantly, my kids loved it there. Loved. It.
This is all why the opinion of the school and this marvelous teacher matter to us. Persistence, of course, means more to us than anything other than her sister.
That's why we were so distressed to hear of The Incident.
If you've been reading my blog, you've gotten the idea that Persistence is a fairly gregarious, attention-hound with a huge streak of smart and creative. Excellent qualities in a child. Unless you are her parent. Or teacher. Or, apparently, her priest.
I'm stalling. Look at this. I'm rambling, offering excuses, rationalization, even backstories for goodness' sake.
Okay. Deep breath. Here's what happened.
In the kids' interview, I admitted my children have a problem with potty mouth, or as the school calls it, inappropriate potty humor. We work on it, I swear (now...defensive).
Apparently, Persistence has discovered two new superpowers: the power of Class Clown and the power of potty humor, inappropriately.
She has apparently employed these powers inappropriately during mass and prayer, with a possible calling of the priest a "pooty butt head."
It is not appreciated, as I'm sure you can understand, to have a three year old holler out "poop" and "pooty butt head" and "GOD HAS POOP" and whatever else her vibrant mind can manufacture during mass and prayers. And let me assure you: she has a neon technicolor vibrant mind.
It's bad enough on its own, but it's a virus that manifests in two ways: mimicry and laughter.
Jon and I had two reactions: horror and hysterics.
I mean, it's wrong, we know it's wrong, oh it is so wrong.
But we couldn't help it: it's FUNNY!
We laughed. We giggled all the way home. We laughed at random points during the day when it popped into our heads, usually when Persistence reminded us about it by, you know, sharing what I've begun calling the Fortune Cookie Addition. This is whereby you take a regular thing you'd normally say and add "butt" or potty words at the end.
Meal-time prayer: God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our poop. Amen. (Said by persistence, unprompted, at lunch.)
You tell me...you would not laugh? Not even a little? I mean, it even fits in, slightly rhyming.
We hid our laughter. We buried our faces. We ran into other rooms.
So she does this at school. It is not well-favored, looked upon kindly (albeit indulgently and with understanding), or appreciated.
We need to stop it.
How does one stop a runaway freight train, anyway?
Copyright 2008 Julie Pippert
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