* The Littlest Angel

[This post has been entered in the Blogging for Books contest.]

So Rio's back to school today and so far, so good. His class went on a field trip today to see The Littlest Angel performed at the local college. Since Rio's principal has dictated that he must have his own personal chaperone on all fieldtrips or he can't go, I took a couple hours off work to accompany him. When I arrived, Rio was not waiting in line with his classmates. He was sitting alone in front of the principal's office, just in case I didn't show. She wasn't taking any chances.

As we were boarding the bus, he asked the busdriver about her knitting, and then as we stepped off he told her how much he liked her beautiful blanket. The driver was thoroughly charmed. Her face lit up, and I could just imagine her thinking, "My, what a sweet boy!" Yes, he is a darling, isn't he? Just be thankful he doesn't ride your bus everyday, when I'm not here to keep him in his seat.

That reminds me of what was going through my head the first time I met Rio's soon-to-be Kindergarten teacher. It was one of those prearranged introductory meetings for parents and teachers, to put names with faces and to follow a nice, friendly script about how excited you are for your child to start Kindergarten. But I knew better, and I was trying to find a very tactful way to warn her: "Look, Rio will charm the pants off you, and then shred to pieces whatever semblance of order you might have achieved in your classroom, smiling sweetly all the while. He's smarter than you, miss. Don't underestimate him. And whatever you do, don't take your eyes off him for a second."

I should have just leveled with her, just like that. Unfortunately, I couldn't bring myself to be so blunt, and she just assured me that "Oh, don't worry, I've been in this business a long time! I've seen it all! There's nothing I can't handle!"

Yeah, uh-huh. That's why I'm here on this field trip today.

The field trip was relatively uneventful. Rio was well-behaved under my watchful eye. Naturally, he couldn't stay in his seat throughout the play, but he was happy to sit in my lap for the last bit. I also noticed that there were plenty of other kids fidgeting and getting out of their seats. Hmmm, has anyone suggested that those kids get medicated? Clearly, they're having trouble sitting still, must be a disorder.

I had a minor run-in with this little girl sitting behind Rio, I'll call her Princess. Before the play began, Rio was talking to his classmates. Then this cutesy girl behind us chimes in and informs me:

"He's mean to me!"

She gave me a nasty look. Look, Princess, Rio's got enough trouble, and for once he's not bothering anyone. Save it for the teachers, they probably believe you no matter what you say.

"He's not doing anything to you. Be quiet and mind your own business."

I don't need your grief, Princess. I got the principal on my ass.

I also noticed that the other trouble maker in Rio's class, a little girl we'll call Jezebel, was not accompanied by a parent on that trip. This is the same little girl that, at the Thanksgiving luncheon for Rio's class, was dragging a kid across the floor by the hood of his sweatshirt while he's hollering "You're choking me!" I was the one who pulled his shirt out of her fist and told her that wasn't a good idea. Hell, somebody had to do it, the other parents were just sitting there, gaping in horror. The teacher already had her hands plenty full, serving up lunch for all those parents and kids. Maybe those other parents aren't used to hellion kids. Me, I ain't scared.

Yeah, so this Jezebel is no picnic. She was right by the teacher's side during the whole trip. But she was allowed to go, whereas Rio would still be sitting in front of the principal's office if I hadn't been there today. That doesn't seem quite fair to me. Maybe her parents have already agreed to put little Jezebel on Ritalin. Or maybe I'm just cynical.


Blogger Fran said...

Hey... Stumbled across your blog on a 'next blog' crawl and I'm hooked...

Just to let you know I'm reading, and to thank you for the writing and stuff... Have to go now (authoritarian father), so I'll comment later too!

12/03/2004 2:50 PM  
Blogger vicious minds said...

Keep up the work, you have an interesting story. It needs to be told and I'll read. You can only do your best in life and live with it, but strive for a better best.


12/06/2004 10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great entry in blogging for books.

Poor Rio. May young hercules's awesome personality never be medicated :) Sounds like you have your hands full, but you are also doing an inspiring job too.


12/12/2004 1:39 AM  
Blogger achromic said...

It is hard to raise a kid that is smart and full of spirt but it sounds like you have quite the sprit yourself. It's ashame that you cannot homeschool him (I know that isn't an option for everyone) because even if the teachers don't say anything to him directly the way they treat him will effect him. Good luck to you and Rio, may you always be able to see the postive wonderful things in him.

12/12/2004 10:16 AM  

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