Tag: School

Bugging – Or, More Antics with M.

M. walks the hall, head down.  He’s not upset.  He’s hunting.  Earlier in the morning he had spied not one, not two, but three pill bugs on the tile floor near the art room.  Very concerned about their chances for survival, what with all the foot traffic, he had insisted that we transport them to safety.  Once outside, he attempted to place them on the leaves of a bush by the doorway.  Ignoring my mention that pill bugs tend to live at ground level, he  made three attempts to convince them of the wonders of high-rise living.  After their third plunge, M. had decided that perhaps pill bugs weren’t canopy-dwellers after all.. 

Moments later, spying yet another pill bug, M. proceeded to stomp this one beyond recognition.  It was a contradiction that took me by surprise.  M. shrugged and continued to his kindergarten classroom.

Now, it’s mid-morning, and after blurting some “red words,” an indication that math is over for M., we’ve decided to take another walk.  M. scans the floor for more pill bugs.  I wonder if I should be pointing them out or warning them to flee. Suddenly he’s on his knees again.  He’s spotted something interesting (and he didn’t stomp it).  I peer over his shoulder to see what he’s discovered.  

“Look!  It’s a giant ant,”  he exclaims.  He picks it up off the tiles and gently places it in his other palm.  “I think it’s dead,” he adds.

In his hand is a very large creature.  At first it looks like a wasp to me.  “Are you sure it’s dead?” I ask. 

“I think so.  It hasn’t moved since I picked it up.”  I take a closer look.  Sure enough, it is a very large ant, and it does seem very lifeless.  M. is fascinated.  He puts his palm up to his eye for a closer look.  “I want to keep him.  I love him,” he proclaims.  He’s back on the move again, no longer looking at the floor.  Now he can’t take his eyes off of his ant.  As we get close to the office I start thinking of the other people who might appreciate a cute, dead insect.  We visit the secretary and the assistant principal.  I don’t really think they’ll appreciate the ant, but something about being with M. brings out the mischievous.  I’m curious to see their reactions.  They express interest, but we notice that they don’t really get close enough to take in the details. 

Next is the workshop teacher.  She seems genuinely enthralled.  She takes a picture on her phone, asks lots of questions and suggests that maybe M. will be an insect scientist some day.  M. asks if he could just be an ant scientist.  We look up “ant scientist” on my phone and discover that indeed, M. could become a myrmecologist.  This pleases M., though as a kindergartener, he still has a bit of trouble with the pronunciation.  It comes out more like “mermaid,” which I inform him is not as realistic an ambition.

We continue down the hall, beyond the office.  Our next stop is the science lab.  The science teacher looks a bit distracted.  I sense that she has a class coming any minute, but she sets down her supplies when M. rushes in.  “Look!  I found something!”

“Hi, M., what did you find this time?”  M. is a proficient finder, and loves to share his discoveries.  He hustles over and shows her his dead ant.  She leans in to get a closer look, and they have a brief conversation. She suggests that we try to find a book in the library.  We’re about to head that way, but M. has another idea.  He looks further down the long corridor.

Nervously, I suggest that we skip the cafeteria, as some might not find his new friend so appetizing.  I’m relieved when M. agrees.  However, he realizes that we are close to the nurse’s office, and his eyes light up.  “Can we show it to Ms. Sandri?”  His eyes open wider. 

“Sure,” I say, thinking that a medical background might make her another interested staff member.  M. has other thoughts.

He walks through the door, holding out his precious cargo.  “What do we have today, M.?”

“IT’S A BUG!” he shouts.

“Oh, no thank you,” she replies.  “We don’t need any bugs in here.”

“It’s okay, it’s dead,” M. says, “But I was thinking maybe you could fix him.”   M. has great confidence in our nurse.  She has fixed many of M.’s scrapes and bruises this year.  The nurse gives a little snort.  I’m picturing her with the insect version of the defibrillator. You know, mini paddles, AA batteries.  “Clear!”  “Zap.”   “Phew! That was close. We almost lost him.”

“I’m sorry, M.  I don’t think I can help your ant at this point, but I can give you a little plastic bag to keep him in.”  M. settles for the bag.  He handles the disappointment stoically, and we head for the library.

On our way, we run into one of our reading specialists.  (She also happens to post slices on a certain web site).  She greets M., who truly has celebrity status in the halls of our building.  He proudly shows her his find.  Since Dawn is interested in everything, she leans in for a closer look.  “Wow!  That’s a really big ant, M.  Where did you find him?”  M. relates the tale of his discovery.  Dawn peers in again.  She’s a big one for observing.  “Do you know the different parts of an ant?” she asks.  

“Yeah, yeah,” M. says, pointing toward his silent friend.  “That’s the head,” he says.

“And do you know that part?” Dawn asks, pointing toward his midsection (the ant’s, that is).  M. is not sure, so Dawn helps out.  “That’s called the thorax.”

“Oh, oh, I know what that part is,” M. exclaims, pointing toward the hind section.  I’m about to be so impressed that M. knows the word abdomen, but I don’t have it quite right.

“What’s that called?” Dawn asks.

“That’s his booty!” M. shouts.

Dawn walks away quickly, probably trying to stifle her laugh.  M. and I head into the library to look for an ant book. It might add to our anatomical vocabulary, but will undoubtedly subtracts from the comedy.

M.’s Great Ant and her very large…abdomen

Dealing with Disappointment

The air was crisp, the breeze was cool, and the sky was dramatically blue at kindergarten recess on Monday, a welcome change from the gloomy gray Mother’s Day sky.  Over at the gaga pit, things seemed to be going well for my friend M.  

I have to watch him carefully, since his temperament is a bit like those poblano peppers that yesterday’s recipe warned me about.  They tend to be mild but can occasionally be very spicy.  On this occasion, M. was employing  the “avoid the ball” strategy, and it was working well for him, even when the second ball was added to the pit.  He didn’t try to get anyone out.  Instead, he just used his quickness and precocious avoidance strategies to evade every swatted ball.  As a result, he remained in the pit for most of the recess time.  His one “out” was clear-cut.  He accepted his fate without dispute or explosion.

When the whistle blew to end recess, I girded myself for some sort of event.  M. doesn’t always appreciate transitions. M. grabbed the gator ball and hugged it vigorously, smooshing it so that it resembled an oversized raisin.  He began walking in the opposite direction of the pit’s entrance.  Another student readily deposited the other ball in the mesh bag that the kindergarten teacher held open.  M. showed no inclination to follow this example.  The teacher repeated her earlier direction.  “Line up and bring the ball to me, please.”  M. showed little interest in that direction.  He continued in the opposite direction.  Then, he threw the ball toward the far wall of the pit.  At this point, another kindergartener stepped into the situation.  He scooped up the ball, now back in its plump (non-raisin) condition,  and ran it over toward that open mesh bag.  M. was not pleased.  The spice was rising.  “Hey! Give me back that ball!” he demanded.

“I’m just putting it in the bag,” the other kindergartener said as he dropped the ball in the bag.

M. was enraged.  This was his squishy ball, and he was having a good time turning it into a raisin and throwing it against the gaga pit wall. He began expressing his displeasure with what we professionals call “red language.”  By kindergarten standards it was more habanero than poblano.  

I stepped between the combatants, and escorted M. toward the alternate entrance to the building.  He fumed.  “I don’t like that boy.  He is not my friend.”

“Well, M., he was just trying to do what the teacher had asked you to do.  He was putting the ball away, since recess was over.”

“I was going to do that!  He shouldn’t have taken it from me.  I’m not going to be nice to him.”

“That’s too bad, M.  I don’t think he really did anything wrong.  He picked the ball up off the ground.  He didn’t take it from your hands.”

M. was not swayed.  This was a grievous wrong that the boy had done, and it called for a proportionally harsh consequence.  As we entered the building, M. imposed his final sentence.

“I don’t care.  I’m not ever going to play with him.   I will never have a play date with him, even when we are in high school!”  Ouch!

A little while later we paused in front of a cleared-off bulletin board to pull out a few stray staples that M. noticed along the bottom edges.  This required some persistence and concentration.  He dropped the subject of the egregious gaga transgression.