Bless me, what do they teach them at these schools?
I admit it. I am that mom. You know the one. The one who had her police record check into the school office three months before her kid started Junior Kindergarten. The one who goes along on field trips, and tries to learn all the kids’ names (even though all the light-haired, light-skinned, crew-cutted boys look the same to me) and volunteers in the classroom.
As much as I jealously watch the careers of other women who made different choices, I really do like having the time to be that mom.
But now the question arises- since I’m right there in the classroom, how do I talk to the teacher about stuff that really bothers me, without burning bridges, and becoming a whole other kind of that mom– the one who walks into a classroom with no background and questions what is being taught by the expert?
The last two days that I have been in school, I have heard my daughter’s class singing “Little Bunny Foo Foo”. I learned this song as a Girl Guide. It was kinda funny.
Here’s the classic version, the one I sang as a kid:
Now, all in all, this is not a terrible model for the stuff that I teach to my volunteers. The smallest and most vulnerable members of the community are being mistreated. The good fairy witnesses unacceptable behaviour, and asks that it be stopped. She confronts FooFoo directly, uses “I” statements, she doesn’t attack- she just lays out a clear expectation about what behaviour will and will not be tolerated, she lays out the consequences for persisting in the unacceptable behaviour. When FooFoo persists, she takes action to protect the field mice from further harm. You could argue that a three-chances policy placed the field mice at greater risk than necessary, but… all in all, the Good Fairy is a pretty good fairy, in the classic scenario.
Ruth has learned a very different version.
There is no fairy.
Mommy Bunny says “Little Bunny Foo Foo / I don’t want to see you / pickin’ up the field mice / and Boppin’em on the head… you need to learn how to make good choices. Hands are for helping, not for hurting”
and the next day… nothing changes. Little Bunny Foo Foo still makes the wrong choice.
Daddy Bunny says “Little Bunny Foo Foo / I don’t want to see you / pickin’ up the field mice / and Boppin’em on the head… you need to learn how to make good choices. Hands are for helping, not for hurting”
And the next day… and little Bunny Foo Foo decides to make the right choice.
“Little bunny Foo Foo / hopping through the forest / picking up the field mice / and giving them a hug”
And Mommy and Daddy Bunny say “Little Bunny Foo Foo / I’m so proud of you / come up on my lap / and get a great big hug”.
(But I don’t. Because Nice Girls don’t cause a commotion in kindergarten. And that Mom is a Nice Girl.)
So now, Mommy Bunny is a useless disciplinarian who offers nothing but a faint and easily ignored warm-up for Daddy Bunny, there is no consequence for bopping the field mice, and scoopin’ up the field mice for an uninvited hug is the “right” choice.
“Little Bunny Foo Foo / I just want to see you / remembering that you’re at least three times bigger than a field mouse / and asking their permission before you touch them at all.”
Well, we would teach the 4-year-olds about body autonomy, but it just doesn’t scan.