Friday, March 18, 2011

Frogs and Snails and Puppy-Dog Tails

The school principal called me the other day.  This doesn't usually happen since our children are well behaved at school.  I'm not saying this to brag about our awesome parenting skills but just to state the simple fact that they take school seriously and are not trouble-makers.

But, the school principal did call.  About Alex, our little first grader.  He had exposed himself to one of the little girls.  During Math class, of all places.  My first response was "WHAT?!?!"  Alex is the sweetest, most sensitive, loving child I know.  I was SHOCKED as were his teacher and principal.  

I had to pick him up from school immediately because he was not allowed to return to the classroom.  When I got there, he was not sad or scared or remorseful.  He was very much nonchalant about the whole thing.  He never lied and openly admitted to doing what he was accused of doing.

He couldn't go back to school the next day which meant he'd miss his class field trip.  This was devastating to him.  He spent the morning with me doing numerous chores but never once complained.  In the afternoon, he packed his book bag and went to work with Chris.  There he worked on an apology note to the little girl in his class.

I still don't know what he was thinking.  I'm not sure that he knows either.  We requested a conference with the principal because I was worried that he was going to be labeled as a pervert.  I needed to defend his character.  He is six, after all.  I know there was no sexual intent behind his actions and I didn't want him to be "watched" like a predator.

After the conference, he was allowed to return to school.  However, we had already planned for him to be absent for our annual St. Patrick's Day parade tradition.  He joined his class for morning Mass and homeroom before we picked him back up.  He was happy to be back with his class and relieved to leave.

Today, he is back to normal in the classroom.

As for us, this has been a parenting eye-opener.  Although Alex did not understand the repercussions such actions hold, he did learn a lesson.  We, too, learned.  We've been pretty laxed on the modesty in our home because our kids are babies.  But, how quickly they grow up.  We've reestablished privacy boundaries.  Reaffirmed that bath time, potty time and clothes changing all happens behind closed doors.  Reminding all of us to knock when a door is closed and to respect each other's need for privacy.

Fortunately, the girl's parents were understanding that this is just "six year old boy stuff."  I think it helped our case that their daughter had been showing off her underwear and asking Alex to do the same.

All in all, we've all learned and grown from this experience.  I'm glad to have spring break next week to reconnect with the kids because they do grow up so fast!