Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Laughter; It Does a Body Good

Well, obviously the post below was written in a moment of paralyzing sadness, guilt and self-doubt. I may seem fairly philosophical and relatively upbeat about Diminutive One, but the truth is, I have far more of those moments than I like to admit.

But they are not all consuming.

Life with Diminutive One can be incredibly demoralizing and emotionally exhausting, but it is never, ever boring. And there are times that his antics make me laugh, even when I know I should be well and truly horrified. Perhaps it's some sort of instinctual self-preservation tactic.

One day last week, the phone rang early in the day. A glance at the caller ID told me it was the elementary school calling. I cringed inwardly, wondering if it was simple illnes or something more calamitous.

I expected the Assistant Principal or the School Nurse, both of whom I am on far more familiar terms than I care to be. To my surprise, it was Diminutive One's teacher. She never calls. She always sends notes or emails me. As soon as she identified herself, a heavy, greasy ball of sick dread dropped into my stomach and laid there like lead.

But her tone was oozing with kindness and tentative sympathy. I was puzzled by that. As our conversation progressed, the reason for her solicitude became abundantly clear.

Teacher: Hello Mrs. Antagonist? This is Mrs. WoefullyInept at Barely Adequate Elementary School?

B.A.: Erm, yes, hello.

Teacher: I hate to ask, but I was wondering....if your family has recently experienced a terribly tragedy? Regarding your oldest son?

B.A.(midly alarmed): Noooooooo. He's fine as far as I know. I haven't seen him since he left for school this morning. Why????

Teacher: Well...I ummm...I wouldn't even have considered calling you, it's just that he was so earnest and very convincing.

B.A.(suspiciously): Who was?

Teacher: Diminutive One. I'm afraid he's telling everyone that his older brother was murdered while he was away at college.

Pregnant Pause

Teacher: Stabbed. To death. Apparently, it was a very violent death.

At this point, relieved, semi-hysterical laughter threatened to burst forth. I stifled it with effort that was nothing short of Herculean.

Teacher: Mrs. Antagonist?????

B.A.: Yes, I'm here. Sorry. I was just....a little taken aback. No. He has not been murdered.

I tried to turn a sarcastic snort into a convincing sniffle.

Teacher(coldly): Oh.

B.A.: I don't have a son in college. My only other son is in Middle School.

Teacher: Well, I didn't think so, but....he really was very convincing. He was giving a lot of very explicit details. It was upsetting the other children a great deal. So I thought I had better find out before talking to him about it. In case it was, you know....true. I didn't want to make light of it if he really had lost his brother. Violently.

B.A.: Well I appreciate that. Can you think of a reason he might have been telling such a story?

Teacher: Well, I was hoping you could tell me.

B.A.: I really can't think of one. But he does enjoy drama a great deal.

Teacher(dryly): Yes. He does.

B.A.: Ummmm, okay, well, I'll talk to him about it when he gets home. I'm sure he didn't mean any harm. He just enjoys making up stories.

Teacher: It might be a good idea to talk to him about what kinds of stories are appropriate.

B.A.: I certainly will Mrs. WoefullyInept.

Teacher: Thank You. Good-bye.

(((CLICK)))

I'm sure Mrs. WoefullyInept didn't find it funny at all. And I suppose I can't really blame her. A room full of traumatized 8 year olds can't be easy to deal with. I suppose she thinks that only a child who is somewhat disturbed would conceive such a nefarious and grisly tale. But I didn't and don't think that Diminutive One had malicious intent when he told his story, nor was he suffering from some sort of psychotic episode.

Stories of violently murdered siblings and the like are, in my estimation, the natural consequences of a fantastically dramatic and imaginitive child who is bored to distraction. Simply put, Diminutive One decided to create some drama and interest to brighten the dull predictability of his school day. Perhaps not a wise course of action, but not deliberately destructive either.

We are not able to see Diminutive One's therapist this month due to an insurance snafu, but she has been in touch to check up on us. She invited me to call her at any time if something problematic arose. I decided to give her a jingle, just to make sure that I wasn't harboring a fledgling Charles Manson in my home.

As I related the incident to her over the phone, there was what I interpreted as a stunned pause, during which, I experienced that all too familiar sinking feeling again.

But then, to my intense relief....she giggled. And the giggle turned into a chuckle, the chuckle a guffaw.

"Oh my." She chortled. "That poor woman just isn't equipped to deal with a child like Diminutive One, is she??"

And then I felt better. I felt free to laugh, as I had first been inclined to do. And I did. Really, really hard.

Because sometimes you just have to.

15 Comments:

  • At 6:39 PM, Blogger Jamie said…

    this. is. Hi-larious.

    I called my husband in to read the phone conversation to him and we both couldn't stop laughing.

    Murdered. violently.

    Thanks for sharing. This is good stuff.

    Jamie

     
  • At 6:51 PM, Anonymous doodaddy said…

    "I'm sure Mrs. WoefullyInept didn't find it funny at all. And I suppose I can't really blame her"

    Wow, I sure blame her! Finding kids' funny behavior to be, I dunno, funny?, is the hallmark of a great teacher. When I was teaching, this is just the sort of thing that would have made me glow with happiness at the coolness of my job.

    No matter whatever other ways she's inept, humorlessness is the ineptest of 'em all.

     
  • At 6:58 PM, Blogger Mamma said…

    Someone inherited his mother's storytelling skills.

     
  • At 7:09 PM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    Who knows, maybe Stephen King got his start that way too? Get D.I. a good journal and tell him to write it all down.

     
  • At 7:23 PM, Blogger Code Yellow Mom said…

    Oh dear. I have to say that I am laughing. Violently. At least she called you before calling in the trauma counselors for the whole class.

    I'm with doodaddy - humorless is worse than inept in an elementary school teacher. It really shouldn't take so much to realize that most kids don't do "shocking" things because they are bad or beligerent - they do it because they are creative, energetic, bored - it all actually comes from a very good place in their personalities. I am immensely glad the therapist laughed.

     
  • At 5:53 AM, Blogger jchevais said…

    I agree with Fairly Odd: Get that kid a notebook and STAT!

     
  • At 8:21 AM, Blogger Avalon said…

    What a great imagination this kid has! I too used to make up fantastic tales as a kid with ADD, but learned fairly quickly NOT to share them while the teacher was around.
    I would also get bored with my daily routine and try to invent new ways to freak my babysitter out.....like sneaking home from school via a different route as the babysitter searched the school frantically to find me.

    Oh, the fond memories!!

     
  • At 9:33 AM, Blogger WI Mommy said…

    This was one of my favorite parts of being a teacher. I would have had a hard time keeping it together as I related the story to you! But then again, I have kind of a warped sense of humor sometimes - I think it comes from many years of hanging around in a room full of nine year olds.

     
  • At 10:45 AM, Blogger Kelly said…

    I second what Fairly Odd Mother said. I smell a master storyteller in the works.

     
  • At 4:12 PM, Blogger jen said…

    what a great way to flip it around. if you don't have humor, you have nothing.

    he's brilliant.

     
  • At 4:12 PM, Blogger jen said…

    what a great way to flip it around. if you don't have humor, you have nothing.

    he's brilliant.

     
  • At 5:06 AM, Blogger Kerry said…

    I agree, you just have to laugh sometimes, lol.
    If we didn't we'd all be in the nut house.

     
  • At 7:59 AM, Blogger Oh, The Joys said…

    BA,
    I am so glad to hear of the laughter. I know how much you love him and want the best for him. I know he is an amazingly brilliant child with a wild imagination. With you as his mother, it will serve him well.
    Much love,
    OTJ

     
  • At 6:33 PM, Blogger Ruth Dynamite said…

    The apple doesn't fall far from the tree after all!

     
  • At 2:48 PM, Blogger gingajoy said…

    dear God. She really is woefully inept. And what kind of automoton kids is she dealing with there??? My son (and his friends) are frequently coming up with morbid stories. And truthfully, my husband might be responsible for this somewhat.... Because it's FUNNY!

     

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