The Divine Miss M’s road through elementary school was not without its bumps and we received a few phone calls regarding her behavior. I don’t really know how to describe her then except to say numerous parents and a few teachers told us M reminded them of Junie B. Jones. If you’re at all familiar with that series, you’ll know our parenting challenges and joy. If not, then let me just say M has always been exceedingly precocious but also exceedingly black and white (as in more than most elementary school kids), has never handled change well (as in worse than most elementary school kids), throw in some analytical sass and there you have it. In fact, her kindergarten teacher, who had taught long enough to be approaching retirement, told me at the end of the school year, “Your daughter has made me a better teacher.” Even in hindsight, I’ve yet to come up with what might be a proper response to that.
In any event, our phone calls generally had a theme involving some characteristic highlighted above. So, imagine my surprise when I received a phone call a while ago from M’s Vice-Principal and ultimately learned she was facing possible suspension for hitting someone. Hitting? Really? And holy crap, suspension??? Looking back, I’m sure my facial expression as she explained why she was calling was more than comical. Though, the Vice-Principal was also a little startled right along with me as she didn’t even know who M was prior to that, saying, “She’s never been in the office for so much as a tardy!”
It’s a long, drawn out saga of how we finally got the full story about what happened. Suffice it to say, even a child not prone to hitting can snap if picked on long enough, ours included. When M started 6th grade I wrote about the Mean Girls in every middle school, dubbed them all SassMasters and wondered if they would indeed emerge this year. I’m not sure the girl our child hit is a SassMaster exactly, but the Vice-Principal did describe her as “not popular exactly, but powerful.” Marvelous.
There is a very fine line to walk when your child engages in completely unacceptable behavior but you know they were also goaded and baited until it occurred. We did what I think most parents do – definitely did not condone but also empathized and discussed various options on removing oneself from the situation, none of which she had considered.
That’s all fine and good and of course, probably the right thing. In reality, though, are there any parents who don’t secretly fantasize just a little bit about The Hand that Rocks the Cradle scene where the psycho nanny (Rebecca DeMornay) visits the playground and physically threatens the little boy who had been bullying one of the kids she watched? If you haven’t seen the movie I posted the scene below, though it does contain R-rated language.
Obviously, no parent I know would actually do that but I have to admit, it was not without its appeal a couple of weeks ago. Alas, I am a sane, responsible adult instead.