Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Tuesday at noon. In true Colorado fashion, it has already snowed, rained, sleeted, and now it's snowing again. We are having indoor recess. I am on auditorium duty with the middle school kids. The assistant principal has set up a bloopers video and the kids are relatively calm (with middle schoolers, on indoor recess days it's all relative).
I should say here, I adore our middle school kids. I love hearing about their lives. And their latest romances. I love talking books. I love writing with them. They make me laugh a hundred times every single day.
Except every once in a while, I don't love them.
Chuckie, a seventh grader, has been known to have issues with adults, but he and I usually do pretty well. He calls me Willie.
Today he races into the auditorium, flies across the room, slides across a table on his belly, and ends with kind of a twisting move, flinging his legs into the air. Several of the seventh grade girls dodge his flying legs, and one gets kicked in the cheek.
"Chuckie," I say, "Go back…"
I don't get to finish before he starts in, "I'm not going back downstairs."
I try again. "You need to…"
Again he interrupts, "I'm not going back downstairs!" His voice is several decibals louder.
I drop my voice. "I need you to…"
This time he shouts at me. "I'M NOT GOING BACK DOWNSTAIRS!"
By this time, I am realizing that I have walked right into one of those scenes Chuckie is famous for creating.
"Hey," I say, trying to make eye contact. "Not okay. What's going on?"
Chuckie responds with a belch. And not just a little belch. Easily the biggest, loudest, longest belch I have heard in my two year middle school career. A belch that would make my two sons, famous belchers in their own right, whistle in awe. And it's right in my face.
If it wasn't so incredibly disrespectful, it would have been really funny.
I stand there for a second, then point toward the door of the office, across the hall. "You need to go to the office," I say.
This time I am the one who interrupts. "Go now."
Chuckie knows that I am serious. He complies.
I follow him into the office, and watch as he proceeds to tell two other social deviants that he has been sent to the office because he "accidentally burped" while he and I were talking. I stick my head into the principal's office to tell her why Chuckie is there, then have to shut the door because I don't want him to hear me laughing.
My plan is to let him cool down, then deal with him after recess, but she says, "Send him in." Chuckie goes into her office and I go back to the auditorium.
Ten minutes later, I am paged on my radio. "Carol, or wait, Willie, can you come to the office?" Chuckie is ready to apologize.
"I'm really sorry," he says, "I was disrespectful and it won't happen again."
"Apology accepted. But you weren't disrespectful. That belch was beyond disrespectful. That was rude," I say. "And gross! And disgusting!"
"I know," he says, and again, I can't help laughing, as I think of that giant belch.
We shake hands and then he gives me a hug.
"I'm so sorry," he says again. And he really is.
You gotta love 'em.