Thursday, March 12, 2009

reading faces

today another teacher saw me come out of the teachers' lounge and told me that the office had been calling around looking for me because my bff had disappeared. his class had a substitute and while they were all out at recess the substitute lost sight of him. this is a problem we traditionally have with him- he doesn't like recess and so he'll bring himself in and wander the hallway entrance waiting for his teacher, hang out in the clinic, etc. we've been working on stopping the behavior, but so far no luck. we'd forgotten to warn the substitute of this possibility though, so needless to say she was in a panic.

at this point it had been awhile since they started looking for him and i got worried. he wasn't in the hallway, the cafeteria, or the clinic. i popped into the office to get the full story when i saw him sitting happily in one of the chairs reserved for children in trouble in the office, swinging his legs and reading a book. he'd just put himself there, knowing no one would bother him if he stayed quiet. i'm sure any teacher that walked in thought he was in trouble and didn't say anything to him, and the administrators probably saw him and thought the other administrator knew why he was there. and with a substitute in the mix of it all it's quite possible she could have sent him there out of confusion.

the office staff was not very impressed when they found out the student they thought had gone awol was actually sitting behind them the whole time. as i started to give him a lecture in the office he dance around, checking out what was going on, ignoring me and my speech. then suddenly, in front of everyone in the office, he leaned forward, "wait a minute! what is this?" he asked, pointing to my forehead.

i use to be embarrassed by the worry-lines in my forehead. i'm not even that old, but he's not first kiddo whose asked about such lines. what can i say, i think i came out of the womb worrying.

but, ever thinking about a teachable moment i said,
"yes! do you see that? that's what my face does when i am worried! i was so, so scared when i didn't know where you were. do you see that?"

"worried? from me?" he points at my forehead. for a moment i wonder if he's going to interpret this as it's his fault i have wrinkles. but i go on anyway.

"yes! that's how you can tell i'm worried. i have lines."

"lines? oh! i'm sorry mrs. lipstick. i love you"

"i love you too my bff. now we're going to WALK back to class"

and so we did. throughout the rest of the day when i was trying to redirect his behavior he'd stop, study my face, and say, "oh. you're worried" or "oh, you're sad. i'm sorry" and would then follow directions.

let's see how long i can keep him examining my face for emotions.

it's the first time in my life i've been happy to have wrinkles.

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