Too Many Rules


The day Jemberu got off the bus after his first day of of kindergarten, I couldn't wait to hear about his day.  His only response to my inquiry about his big day was, "Too many rules!".  I was surprised, but okay with that response.  I knew he'd adjust to the rules and love kindergarten.  I mean, all kids love kindergarten, right?            

The last day of school is next week and although we have 6 school days to go, it is safe to assume that I was wrong.  His response to "How was your day?" or  "Tell me about your day."  is a variation of the complaint about the excessive rules of school.  It now comes out as one word "toomanyrules" or if he got in trouble that day "toomanystupidrules".

Earlier in the school year, when he refused to leave the gymnasium after gym, he had to spend some time with the principal, Mr. Ryan.  A boy named Jake is in Jem's class and rides the same bus, he happened to sit with our next door neighbor, Gibson on the bus that day and  told him about 'the incident'. When Gibson got off the bus he said to  me, "Jem had to go to the principal's office today!"  I thought I was hearing things, I have never had one of my kid's go to the principal's office and Jem is only in kindergarten!  When Jemberu threw his backpack and stormed into the house yelling "THAT is between me and Mr. Ryan and I don't want to talk about it!", I realized that Gibson wasn't pulling my leg.

The school year has hummed along and I have not received any calls from his amazing teacher (note to self: get her a great end of school year gift). So, in spite of occasional confessions of having to 'stand on the fence' at recess or missing recess altogether, I have assumed things are going pretty well.  I mean, it's not like I am going to ask his teacher, I am not the type to look for trouble. 

 Recently Jem came home pretty glum.  I asked him if he needed to talk to me about anything and he muttered that because of thestupidrules, he was going to have to sit out his WHOLE recess the next day.  I asked him to tell me more and this was his story.

 "So,  you know how we can't slide in baseball?  I can't stop thinking about sliding, so when we were going into the cafeteria, I started to run but just a little so I could SLIDE into the cafeteria line." 

  My response was not one that will make the parenting manuals. 

 "You were thinking about baseball?   That is awesome!  How was the slide, feet first or head first?"  

 "Feet first!" he told me "And I didn't even get hurt!."          

"So cool Jem, most kids your age are too scared to slide!  We can practice more in the yard."

"Yeah, that way I won't hurt other kids."

"Oh shoot!  You hurt someone?  That is not okay, "

"Two kids fell but they didn't even have to go to the nurse."

He also added that he didn't have to see the principal,   I was relieved until he said "because his door was closed!"

"So you were sent to the office?  That's not good."

"It IS good because his door was CLOSED!"  I didn't have to see him!"

Trying to act more like a mom, I reminded him that when he was sitting out recess the next day, he really needed to think about trying harder to follow the rules.  In my best mom voice I added a bit about the rules being there to keep kids safe.

I tried to look concerned but I was smiling on the inside.  I love baseball and he is the first one of my kids to ever tell me they were thinking about it when they weren't playing it or watching it.  It was a good moment for me.  I pictured us making a tradition of going to Opening Day together.  I envisioned summers of watching him play and love the game.  

When he got off the bus the next day, I asked the usual question and expected the usual reply but this is what he said, "I had a GREAT day!"  I asked what was so great about it.  He told me that his teacher forgot to have him sit out for recess.  Lucky break.