Wednesday, March 23, 2011


It is 10:15, and I am up to my eyeballs in administrivia when I get the call. Two of my kindergarten friends have had a fight and need to see me. L has been to visit me many times since he was placed in a foster home in our area in early October. Usually we do a little problem solving, then end up reading a book or two. I'm never quite sure that L views our time as punishment, in fact, I think he actually looks forward to our visits.

Today is no different. L marches into my office, dragging B, who has only been at our school about a a week, along behind. We ascertain that a small physical brawl has indeed occurred, and we talk about other ways we might solve the problem and apologize.

Then the fun begins. "Can we read a book?" says L.

"I don't know how to read," says B. I tell him that he can read the words or the pictures.

L chooses DO YOU KNOW WHICH ONES WILL GROW, which I read to his class a week or so ago, and sits down in his favorite corner of my office. B hasn't practiced the routine, so it takes a little longer to convince him that it really is ok to read the pictures, but soon he is paging through a book too.

I settle back to my administrivia, but it isn't long before L interrupts.

"Dr. Carol! Dr Carol! I see yes. See, it's right here!" He turns the book to make sure I can see the big red yes. I exclaim over his reading skills and try to go back to the administrivia. I last about 8 seconds, then L interrupts again. "Dr Carol, here's no. I see no and yes." Once again, he turns the book to make sure I can see it. L, meanwhile has gone through about three books.

I return to my administrivia. This time I last about 6.4 seconds. L interrupts again, "Dr. Carol, look, there's hat and cap. Hat and cap rhyme, right?" I explain that hat doesn't rhyme with cap, but that it does rhyme with mat and bat and fat, and lots of other words. "Oh yeah," says L. "That's what I meant. I meant hat and cat."

Back to the administrivia. Four seconds. "Dr. Carol," says L. "Look at this big cake. It has one, two, three, four rows (layers). I want a cake like that for my birthday. Do you know when my birthday is, Dr. Carol?" I don't, but that's ok, because L is more than willing to tell me. I ask B if he knows when his birthday is. He doesn't. L looks a little perplexed.

Having talked his way through DO YOU KNOW WHICH ONES WILL GROW, L is ready for a new book. "Hey, Dr. Carol, where's the one where the guy says Blargy blargy?"

I push my administrivia to the side and find CAT THE CAT. L is at the really great stage, where he is just starting to develop voice print match. I watch as he works his way carefully through CAT THE CAT, touching every word, but still making up a little text when the words are too hard for him. It takes about five minutes to get to the blargy blargy part. By this time, B is getting a little restless.

"Can we go back to class?"

"Not yet," says L. "I haven't read the skeleton book yet." L drags Steve Jenkins' BONES out of a different box. "Look, Dr. Carol, here's the skeleton one. Remember you promised you would come and read it to our class? Hey B, you want to read the skeleton book with me?"

B doesn't. "I think it's almost time to play outside," he worries.

L remembers an activity from a previous visit. "Hey, you can see the playground from here." He drags a chair to the window, climbs up, then scoots over so B can climb up also. "Do you see?" says L, peering out my second floor window at the kindergarten playground below. "We are really high. Just like the birds."

This time B is at least a little impressed. "Is that our swings?" he asks.

"Yep," says L, with the authority of one who has climbed on this chair several times before.

"Can we go back?" says B. "We might miss recess."

As we walk back down the stairs, I try to think what I might say to the kindergarten teacher, about how the boys have spent the last 45 minutes. I'm not sure the time we have just spent together was exactly what she had in mind…


Ruth said...

How funny! I love your writing style--the narrative punctuated by the boys' dialog. You manage to give a clear picture of these two. The place I laughed aloud though was when you ponder what to tell the K teacher...

Mary Lee said...

Administrivia...blargy blargy...what to tell the kindergarten teacher...

SO much to love in this story!