Friday, December 21, 2007

Pity Party for Poor Pony

Here's the trauma of the day: My Little Pony cried. He got off the bus crying. He had been crying for quite some time, judging from his red raccoon eyes and the pink blotches on his forehead. There he sat, that poor pitiful Pony, all dangly legs and snuffles, at the corner desk in my room. I had been up the hall watching the principal receive his gift, and the Pony had slipped by me like the last 174 days of the school year.

I leaned over and spoke quietly to him. He would not tell me what was wrong. He's a tough nut to crack, that Pony. Mrs. NotACook was supposed to write me a recipe, but she went on to her own room. "I'll come back later," she said. I had to quiz the Pony. "Did something happen on the bus? Did you get your feelings hurt? Did something happen at school? Did you lose or break your glasses? Did you think I had left you?" Each question brought a shaken head. He shook. He sobbed. I started to cry. It hurts my cold, cold heart to see my Pony like that. He is too tender-hearted. He patted my arm. "Mom! Don't cry!" We sniffled together.

Finally, I hit it on the 19th question. "Did you get a Christmas present?" Again, the Pony shook his head. But this was a bad thing. His class had a gift exchange at their party today. He was supposed to take a boy toy. I wrapped it and sent him off with it from the LSUV this morning. It was a football and two round balls with rubbery pointy things all over them. Hey! The limit on gifts was $5. Now I was disappointed that my Pony did not get a gift. I had to get to the bottom of it. That boy lives for parties. He's been excited all week. Now this.

"Did somebody forget to bring one?" He shook his head. "Tell me what happened. Do I need to call the teacher?" The Pony squeezed out a few more tears. He shook his head. "Tell me." He took a breath. "I can't. I have a lump in my throat." Finally, I got it out of him.

"We all picked a number to get presents. I got number 3. I unwrapped my present, and it was a Nerf dart gun. Then it was Classmate's turn to unwrap one or take it. He took mine. Mrs. Teacher told me to get another present, but I didn't want any that were left. When there was only one left on the table, I wouldn't take it. So she took it."

OK. First of all, I know it is my boy's own fault he didn't get a present. He had the option, but he chose to be stubborn. All the other kids went along, but he didn't. But what teacher in her right mind would play this gift swap game with 4th graders? I certainly would not attempt it until at least 9th grade. Middle school kids would fight, not cry.

That boy was heartbroken. I told him I would look for a Nerf dart gun for him. He said, "If you can find one like it, I would like to have it for Christmas." We had just been in The Devil's Playground yesterday. There were no $5 Nerf guns. The closest was $7.98. I had to go back today anyway. I got the Nerf for Pony. And I gave it to him tonight when I picked him up at his grandma's house. But we had a talk. A talk about how sometimes you have to go along. To pretend that everything is OK, even if it isn't. Like go by the rules, and take another gift, and give it to someone else later if you don't like it. And then we can talk about it at home. But if you go through life crying when you don't get your way, the kids will make fun of you, and people will think you're a whiner. Pony though about it. When I asked him specifically if any of these things happened today, Pony said that nobody made fun of him, but his teacher was kind of mad. She didn't yell at him, though. She just took the book on reptiles that he didn't want anyway, because he really is not interested in reptiles. And a couple of his friends felt bad for him that he was sad.

I think he got the message. Whether he can put this plan into action is another story. He's been like this since he was a couple years old. At daycare, when he got hurt, he wouldn't tell what the problem was. His teacher even called me a couple times. "I don't know how he's hurt. He won't tell me anything. I looked him over, but there's no bleeding or bruises. I let him sit by himself, and after a while he was OK again."

I know. I'm spoiling him by giving him that gift. I should let him go without one so he learns not to look a reptile book in the mouth. But he didn't ask for the Nerf. I volunteered it.

We won't go into what HH had to say about the teacher.


Melani said...

I think playing that game with children is insane. And the fact that his teacher was mad just proves that she doesn't get what children are like at that age.

I've seen adults get sad/mad over playing that!

For the record, I would have done the same thing and bought the toy for my child

DPA said...

I tried to comment earlier today and wasn't sure if it got through or not. Melani pretty much said it, but I'll say it again.

I don't think it's smart to play that game with kids. We call it "Dirty Santa," and we played it at our department Christmas party. One of the teacher's got peeved when her gift was taken--- and she's about 35 years old. So no, I don't think I'd do that with 4th graders. How old are they? Nine? Ten?

Maybe the teacher was just trying to make the game more fun. After all, everyone was getting a five dollar gift. I bet she doesn't do it next year. I gave each of my kids a candy cane, and that was it. They gave gifts to who they wanted to.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Thanks for the moral support. Sometimes I think I'm one of THOSE kinds of parents.

You didn't get through. I've had a devil of a time logging on to Blogger tonight. It's gone all wonky.

The Pony is 9. He will turn 10 in February. The other thing is...that Nerf gun was NOT a $5 gift. So of course it was more attractive than the REAL $5 gifts. As for the moron who sent the book...I call RE-GIFTING. What child in his right mind would want a BOOK instead of a Nerf dart gun? One year, the teacher specified that all students bring a book. At least the playing field was level.

And listen to this horror story. One of our departments had a dinner where they did the 'Dirty Santa' thing. ONE faculty member brought her two children, who are younger than my Pony. She let them open her gift. Then my NotACook buddy went to take that teacher's gift, and everyone stared at her like she was an OGRE for taking a present from a baby.

Marshamarshamarsha said...

i am hoping that HH called her a fidiot or something similar. My girl is nine, and I would have done the same thing as you. Can't take the tears. They are going to get enough grief in high school.

Hillbilly Mom said...

HH, King of the Pottymouths, used a term a bit stronger than that. I'm with you. I can't help but feel sorry for the young'uns. I hope we're not perpetuating the "I'm OK, you're OK, everybody's a winner" society.