Thursday, September 04, 2008

All About The Climber

Or; Work Play Love (at age 7).

I help out in the classroom once or twice a week and was horrified on my last visit by the quiet time-wasting being achieved by my child. I mean, he's never exactly been Mister Studious but the distractability had reached epic proportions in this class I observed. The class project was to grow beans in a bag, and they were given a worksheet with three sections: 1. Materials 2. Method 3. Predictions. Halfway through the class I had a look at Climber's sheet, and found to my horror that he'd written One Word (Water in the materials section). I chivvied him and came back ten minutes later to find the chivvying was a waste of good breath seeing as he'd added exactly One More Word (Bag, still in the materials section), which might have happened anyway, chivvying or no. He'd just been too busy picking up any random object near him and making an interesting game out of it - duelling pencils, folding scraps of paper etc. Taking care to always be quiet enough never to draw any teacherly attention to himself. So then, being an interfering, bossy mother, I stayed behind him for the rest of the class and made him Do His Work. Even then he was finding it hard to stay on task, pardon my jargon. And not just because it is extremely annoying to have your mother in class clucking get back to work every 3 seconds. Upon leaving the classroom, I fretted all day and all night and generally carried on like a pork chop about it to him and Fixit and anyone else in earshot, before arranging to see his teacher. My concern was that as a kid who is neither the best or worst in the class he slips through the cracks a bit; that because he reads, writes and 'rithmatics well and doesn't really misbehave as such, his under-achieving within his own capabilities was going unnoticed. (Also I am bewildered because he is A First Child, so why is he not an over-achieving goody two-shoes like I was? Why??!!) Anyway, his teacher was great and immediately implemented a plan involving daily reporting on whether Climber completes his tasks, and repercussions if not; and so far the fact that there is now some sort of consequence for doing or not doing work seems to have gee-ed him up a bit. I can report that he was working much more diligently when I went to class today. (Aren't you glad I'm not your Mum?)

Climber was reported for punching another child in the face, which turned out to be a case of some tom-foolery gone wrong but because it happened at assembly he had to explain his actions to the Principal. The over-achieving goody-two-shoes in me was of course appalled. However, everyone is satisfied that he did not mean to punch the other kid either hard or in the face (and the other kid threw the first play-punch and at least two others were also play-punching), but he's now heard a few of us say things like if you hadn't been mucking around in the first place etc etc. Climber said it was actually much worse explaining himself to his own teacher because his teacher made his eyes all big and looked really surprised at him whereas the Principal just had her normal face on, except not smiling.

A while ago I'd said to another Mum, jokingly in that way you do, My Climber likes your C, to which she replied that her C had mentioned that she thought she had a crush on Climber. How we laughed, aren't they sweet? It was still just looking sweet when he made her a Get Well card when she missed one day of school with gastro last week. Only, now C has gone on holidays, hard on the heels of Climber having decided quite firmly that she was The One, and all week I've been having these heart-twisting conversations with him. Firstly we had them about how much he liked her (you should have seen his happy smile when I let on that C allegedly crush-ed him back). But now we're onto the tear-stained ones about how he is feeling so desolate because he won't see her for 4 weeks. She'd been gone half a day. Last night he said I feel like she is the last piece of the jigsaw and I need her. I am not making that up. Brings back the days when I fell for Jeff Wilson like a tonne of bricks and used to sneak up behind him at lunch time and touch him on the back, hoping he wouldn't know and he told me never do that again and then my Dad consoled me by advising me to turn my attention elsewhere and I told him after a couple of weeks that I'd decided to like Jeremy but I could never love him the way I loved Jeff. Sigh. Apples and trees.

This is him making an I Missed You card for C's return. Which is 4 weeks away still, but who's counting?


  1. He wrote two words - some of the kids in my class are lucky to get half a word down.....

    I love a great crush. I hope he makes the distance of 4 weeks.

  2. FOUR WEEKS!!!! Tha's a lifetime! I hope you have a handy supply of cod philosophy and broken heart band-aids ready...

    As to the one word on the page? Last parent/teacher interview of Yr4. my 9 y.o. said (with some resignation) 'I know what they are going to say. It is the same thing they have said at everyone of these since Prep. Princess C-W should get more work done.' Well??????? Why don't you?!?!?!

    Happy to report that by the end of last school year she was finally operating at speed. With the new term just begun we shall see what Yr.5 brings......

  3. Oh that over achieving good two shoes first born.

    I know her well.

    That jigsaw comment is better than "You had me at hello!"

  4. Oh, the distractability thing? Resonates pretty damned loudly ovah heah.


  5. He said that....that kid will have romance down pat by the time he is...all of 9!!!

  6. Last bit, too fricken sweet. Young love.

    And who knew making big eyes held such power?

  7. All I can say is:

    Work: Sounds like PL
    Play: Just like PL
    Love: ditto (except four weeks is nothing; PL's loves have moved to Russia and Perth so far and his current interest is Israeli so I don't hold much hope for her sticking around either.)

    The missing you card is cute.

  8. Oh, the LOVE is heartbreaking ... and so cute ... and a little scarey. Isn't there more than enough time for broken hearts in the future?

  9. One of the things that struck me the hardest when I started working at school was just how little work some kids (mainly boys) manage to do or should that be not do? - day in, day out. It is horrifying. Many of these kids end up sitting on the table with the kids I work with, so I can lean on them ;) Glad your teacher is on to it straight away and also v. impressed with his surprised/disappointed face - that is an art-form and so much more effective than yelling.

    It's strange being part of your son's "real life". I actually witnessed the "explain your actions" conversation in the passageway on Monday morning - it was a 3-way conversation, by the way. I think Climber is way brave not to be scared sh..less by the principal! Love his big heart - he really is gorgeous, your boy - I was looking after a disabled prep in a wheelchair at playtime today and he did a whole trapeze/gymnastics routine on the monkey bars for us and made him laugh :) He'll be running away with a circus any day now - Climber could not be a more accurate nickname...

  10. Awwwww! If we got PL, Climber and J.T. together, they wouldn't get much done, would accidentally get in trouble for something unintentional while pining for someone/something. I say something because J.T. still thinks girls are gross. Cooties and all, ya know?

  11. That jigsaw quote is an absolute classic. File that one away for future use/embarrassment!

  12. I remember Kindergarten swoons by my boys! What a thinker your Climber is!---last piece of the jig saw puzzle.....We all know how it feels to be almost done except for that last piece! And yes! I'm glad you're not my mother! Though the cut of my jib is like your own---first born, goody two shoes!

  13. Oh! The hell of being a mother!
    You have just reminded me of blinding moments of pain over my children's dashed loves.
    These crushes can crush back, you know! Mostly it is the mother who is crushed!

  14. I, too, am the parent of a bright, never in trouble boy who appears to work at a pace that makes a snail look speedy. he has made it through 9 years of school like that. I have no idea how to make him go faster - not an inkling. There is no reward, no threat, no favour, no consequence which will cause him to notch it up a gear. (although I REALLY which I could use the - sit behind and hiss in his ear teachnique.)

    If you manage to find a long term solution I will send Pip to you, express post!

  15. Yup, very glad you're not my mum (from that point of view only). I was very much a fiddler at school when given easy and boring tasks and see how I ended up! A teacher! Warn him of that!

    I sympathise with your troubles but it's just the beginning. Wait till one marries a depressive and the other's going out with an actor. Ho hum.

    Just thought I'd cheer you up!

  16. Wow he's such a romantic. Hopefully he doesn't pine too much while she's gone.

  17. Climber is related to master 11. No doubt in my mind. Look out the window. Sharpen the pencil. Kick the desk. Twiddle some hair. look around at what the interesting things the other kids are doing. (That's because they have FINISHED their work). drop a pencil. pick it up. look at your shoe. Look at everybody elses shoes. scratch your bum. Begin cycle again....

  18. Your description of Climber in class could have been about my elder daughter. Drives me mad!

    But oh, my, what a romantic little soul. Awwww.


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