Friday, March 9, 2012

Slice 9 of 31

T enters the classroom on Thursday pretty much like he always does- with crash, a bang, a thump, and often an "oops," or  “oh, sorry.” He is a gentle giant, as tall as I am today, probably taller tomorrow. His coordination has not quite caught up with his rapidly growing body, and every day something— a can of markers, the electric pencil sharpener, a vase of flowers—or someone, most often his table partner, Kanesha—falls victim to his klutziness. 

This morning T greets me by saying, “I have food poisoning. I was up all night throwing up.”

I have a momentary picture of T spewing his cookies on the state books. “Really?” I say. “Does your mom know you are sick?”

“Yeah,” he says, taking a chug from a 32 ounce bottle of apple green gatorade, “but she didn’t have anywhere to leave me, so I just came to school.”

“Great,” I think, imagining green gatorade on the test books. “Don’t drink too much of that, sweetie.”

T wanders off to his desk, stopping along the way to announce to several of his friends that he was up all night “puking.” His friends are only mildly interested. "Dang," says J. "Everybody's puking in our class," referring to an incident from the day before, where my quick moving para had saved the day by shoving a wastebasket under someone's chin five minutes before our second round of state testing.

We start testing half an hour into the school day. Each morning this week, I have given the kids a snack, just to make sure they have something in their stomachs when they take the test.  Today it is granola bars. Given that his stomach hurts, I think probably T will not want a granola bar.

“Hey,” he says, as I hand a bar to Kanesha, “I’ll take one of those.”

“Are you sure? Doesn’t your stomach hurt?”

“It only hurts a little,” says T taking another slug of the the green gatorade, “I think it’s getting better. Can I have one of those please?”

I give T a granola bar and continue my distribution rounds. As I finish, I glance over to the other side of the room. T is eating powdered donuts.

“Hey,” I say, “I thought your stomach hurt.”

“It only hurts a little now,” he says, licking the powdered sugar film off his lips, then taking another slug from the now half empty Gatorade bottle.

About five minutes later, the assistant principal brings our bucket of testing materials.

“I don’t feel well,” says T, “my stomach hurts.”

“I can’t imagine why,” I think, picturing the 16 oz of Gatorade, and the granola bar, and the 6 powdered sugar mini-donuts T has consumed in the last half hour.

“I thought you said it was better,” I reply.

“It’s not,” T says, assuming a pained expression and clutching his stomach.    
“Do you want to use the restroom before we test?”

“Nah,” says T. “I’ll be ok.”

We test for an hour. As I am proctoring, I keep glancing over at T. Visions of green Gatorade and powdered sugar doughnut, and granola bar continue to dance through my head.

We finish testing. T’s hands me his book and says, “I don’t feel good. I threw up like three times last night.”

“I know,” I say, “you told me that. Do you want to use the restroom?”

“Nah,” says T. “I’m ok.”

After the tests are turned in, it really is snack time. Our  morning is four hours long and the school provides fruit every day. A few of my kids, T included, usually bring their own snack as a supplement. Today, T has a quart-sized Ziploc bag of chips. He inhales the chips as he makes the rounds, chatting with first one group of kids, and then another. He finishes his chips as he reaches the last group in the room.

“Hey,” he says to J. Can I have some of your cheetos…”


Darlene A. said...

We've been testing each morning too. I'm so glad T's stomach improved. Perhaps a growth spurt is making consume all that food.

elsie said...

Whew! I kept waiting for the explosion. So glad it didn't happen. I love the way this unrolled through the conversation and your inner thoughts. I wanted to get to the end, but didn't want to miss any chance of a surprise in-between. Great story!

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

Like Elsie, I kept thinking T. would lose his snacks any moment - glad you both made it through another testing day.

Dana said...

Kids.... so funny how he just kept inhaling more and more junk. Loved how you told this. I too kept waiting for him to explode and for a horror story of having to bag up a disgusting test booklet.

Jone said...

I was actualy happened at my friend's school last year. She had to call the state organizer to ask what to do about the test booklet with you know what all over it.
Our test starts in May.

Linda B said...

Well all I can say is 'ah kids'. At least the visions of green gatorade and powdered donuts remained just that, visions. Your ways of leading us down that path were great, Carol. I was waiting and waiting for it, only to be much relieved, not at all disappointed. Great story! (Glad you have the weekend to rest after this past week!)

Janet said...

You made me laugh out loud! We all know a "T". I can't say as I blame him though, state testing makes me sick too. Great slice!

Karen said...

I feel the same way T does on testing days, and I seem to be a firm believer that food will make it better, even if it can't make it go away.

Great storytelling! Loved it and am so glad there wasn't a green and white explosion!