Monday, September 20, 2010

9/20/2010 Insights

This risk of suspension thing really has us in a tizzy.

Gabriel's principal said that "next time" Gabriel will be suspended for hitting. Next time when? This school year? The rest of his life at Collins? Seems to me a clear probationary period should be established. I don't mean that he should think he can revert to his old ways after 3 months, but I also think that the constant vague threat will lose its meaning too.

Also, we found out that the kid that Gabriel punched risked suspension too. Now that's really arbitrary. That makes me think that the principal is throwing around that word without really thinking about it. It means a lot to parents, and it needs to be better-defined. Dave and I are doing some research on school and California policy (thanks SR!) and plan to talk to the principal about it.

I chatted this afternoon briefly with the very very very very very nice Mom of the kid who Gabriel punched. She assured me that they were total pals again, that her son wasn't completely innocent either, and that it wasn't a problem. She is SO nice, I felt so much better. A lot of Moms would be understandably PO'd if their kid got in trouble with the principal for being punched!

I titled this post "Insights" because of two remarkable things Gabriel said today, one of which came now.

I told Gabriel that his friend now risks suspension too. Gabriel frowned and said, "That doesn't make any sense -- he's not the one who got in trouble!"

Ya gotta love this kid's clarity.

Moments later, the mom of one of Julian's kindergarten classmates, and a rare neighbor, parked next to my car and got out. I was floored to see that she's pregnant, and she laughed about needing to park as close as possible these days. After I drove away, I told Julian that his former classmate was going to have a sister, and wasn't it exciting that our neighbor is pregnant. Gabriel responded, "I don't care if anyone's pregnant -- unless it's you. Now that would be OK." Taken aback, I asked him, "Why is it OK if I'm pregnant?" And he answered, "Because that would mean more family members."

What's stunning is his tone of voice. He says it so impassively, so factually. He doesn't say it pensively or with anticipation, as you'd expect about a kid talking about a potential sibling. It's like it's SO obvious. Gabriel has said before that he'd like another sister or brother, and takes it in stride when I tell him I'm not having any more babies. Aside from the technical reasons (I'm 47 and had a tubal ligation), NO more babies.

In fact, I told my pregnant neighbor, "Congratulations -- but stop at TWO!"

I do think stopping at two is smart, and I often lament how difficult it is to spend any concentrated time with one or two. It's not just that three divides your attention across three children; it divides your attention across three stages of life. Unless you were smart about it and had twins or triplets that is. Maybe this is why I like taking the boys on excursions so much, because then we're all in the same "place" for a day.

But while two is smart, perhaps more livable and more intimate, when you're in the life of 3, for better or worse, you are glad for each individual. While the life of 3 is often very hard for us, we could never say we didn't want the 3rd. It's the challenging first two that makes life so tough these days -- Katrina happily reminds us of the joys of childhood. Lately, she makes it worth it. I'm told I'll be saying the same about her brothers when she's 13 or 14.

But tomorrow, I get the ideal situation: one. Julian came home with a temperature today, and while he perked up before bedtime (insisting on doing his homework?!), I'd already decided to keep him home tomorrow. Odds are good his temperature and lethargy will return, and he was complaining of a headache (that freaks me out) and a sore throat. A day alone with my #1 #2 boy will be just fine with me.


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