Poor K woke up feeling so icky this morning that he didn't want to get out of his crib. Even when TZ framed it as, "Hey, K, do you want to go and look for candy with me?" my poor baby could only mumble miserably, "I'm too sick." So we knew he wasn't faking it. After three more hours of sleep, he woke up, had a waffle, and was almost his usual self for the rest of the day.
I myself am feeling not-so-great after a day of stuffing Easter chocolates into my mouth when the kids weren't looking.
And finally, it turns out that my firstborn has been up to quite a lot during the weeks leading up to Easter:
1) He has been feigning stomachaches at school and being sent to lie down on the carpet until the illness passes.
2) He got punched in the stomach during lunch (karmic payback for his fake stomach issues?).
3) He is nice to a kid who doesn't have a lot of friends.
About the stomachaches: He didn't admit that they were fake until we were two or three days into the process of figuring out what to do. I first learned about it when I called him on what seemed to me to be a fake illness one morning before school. "Well just tell Mrs. H if you still feel sick after you've been at school for a while, and I'll come and get you," I said, handing him his backpack.
"But I do that a lot, and she always just makes me lie down on the carpet."
Okay, I tell myself. He can't possibly be truly ill when this happens, or he'd still be sick when he gets home from school, and he has never once mentioned this before. Still, why hasn't the teacher told me about this? Even if they're fake, don't recurring stomachaches warrant a call home to check things out?
After a couple of emails and a short conversation, Mrs. H and I decide maybe it's stress, and I have another conversation with Tai.
During which he admits that he mostly just gets sick during the daily math story problem (done as a class) and science journal (copying down 4-6 facts about the animal of the week). About the story problem: "It's so easy, and I get it right away because I'm so smart, and we're not allowed to go ahead so I just have to sit there bored until everyone else gets it." And the science journal? "I hate writing. It's hard and boring and dumb. And I found out--remember when I really did get sick on Valentine's Day? I missed science journal, and it turned out that I never had to do it for make-up work. She's never made me go back and do the ones I miss."
Ahhh. Well, I'm not so keen on the arrogant attitude, but I can't argue with him. Who wouldn't want to opt out of either of those situations? Especially without repercussions?
On the other hand, there is value in solving a problem together, and in waiting for others to get it instead of just pushing on ahead by yourself. And even if science journal is really just handwriting practice--well, he's in first grade, his handwriting is not that good, and the only way to get better at it is to do it.
Not to mention that feigning illness to escape a less-than-ideal situation is hardly a good coping strategy.
On the other-other hand, how dumb is it if he has to sit there not allowed to talk, raise his hand with the correct answer, doodle, or daydream while another kid takes ten minutes at the whiteboard? But maybe it's only two or three minutes.
So I did the Good Mom thing (I hope) and we talked about how boring it could be to wait with nothing to do, how much writing practice bites, and how lying your way out of a situation is not okay. He knew. He's willing to do extra math problems while he waits for the class (although this kills the lesson about learning to wait for others), and he'd hate writing Clone Wars trivia as much as animal trivia, so it looks like he's just going to have to bite the bullet on the science journal issue.
Punch to the stomach: This kid M punched TZ in the stomach at lunch the other day. Just walked up to him and socked him. Hard. I don't think he meant any malice, and TZ doesn't either--"He's just mean like that," he said, "He just thinks it's funny." So TZ went to his teacher and M got sent to the principal.
M is a kid who should not be in first grade. He's not bad, just really not ready to sit still for a long time. He's in first grade because his twin sister is ready for first grade. He's tiny, super-cute, and very cuddly, or I'm sure he'd get a lot less sympathy from everyone. If he were the biggest boy in the class, he'd get labeled a bully right away.
But here's something weird: I saw M's parents the next day at TZ's baseball game (he and M are on the same team), and they said nothing about the whole incident. I don't know, maybe they didn't know about it? Am I overreacting? Probably. Kids fight, right? And TZ had the good sense to report it instead of hitting back (he said he wanted to).
Finally: TZ mentioned that he often plays with RV, who has lots of trouble at school. He's a sweet boy, but he has some big academic issues, and gets made fun of sometimes. According to TZ, "He's starting to figure out who is really his friend and who isn't, like that M isn't really his friend (M teases him a lot). But I always try to play with him if he wants to play, because there's nothing wrong with him, just his brain doesn't work the way other people's brains do. He's nice. He's always smiling."
That's my sweet TZ.