Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Little Yellow Note

My firstborn is a straight arrow. And I mean, a straight arrow. With that personality comes the added trait of being a rule follower. Typical. Well, I've seen this part of his character go to a new level this year with school. Here's an example: everyday the students get their initials on the board and if they get caught with their fingers in their mouth or nose, they get an initial erased. If both are erased at the end of the day, they don't get a sticker. But if they still have one, they get to bring home a sticker on their hand. I think the system is brilliant. Their teacher is trying to promote good sanitation which helps stop the spread of germs amongst the little tykes, as well as curb bad habits like nose picking. But, she does it in a positive way. They don't get in trouble for doing it they just don't get a sticker. I like that.

Anyhow. Like previously mentioned, my son is a rule follower and so these types of systems work very well for him. Each day he happily carries home his sticker and places it on his take home folder like the little type A personality kid that he is. He has gotten a sticker every single day and as he told me on Monday, he's been in school for fifty days. Now hear my point here before you think I'm boasting. Although I like it that he's listening and doing well at school, sometimes I would like him to flub up just a little bit because, like he'll find out soon enough, nobody's perfect and we can't expect too, too much out of ourselves or we'll end up disappointed. Life doesn't always work itself out into neat little boxes. It just doesn't and the faster he can learn that the better.

But anyway, enough background. Isaac is a straight arrow through and through. His Dad and I have definitely helped him a bit in this area but, being that he's a first-born and that its his personality, even if we hadn't encouraged him to follow the rules, I think he'd tend this way of his own accord anyway.

So today I went to pick him up from school and I was told there was a note for me in his folder. I immediately thought he'd gotten in trouble for the first time and was thinking quickly about how I'd wade through that with him. I was picturing him being totally upset at himself and all sorts of images flashed through my head. Yet, as my mind was moving through that, I actually pulled out the note to find that it simply said he was out of dress code that day. He was wearing a gray sweater and not a black or red one. Normally he wears black but occasionally I've let him wear this other sweater to mix things up a bit. I didn't know it wasn't allowed (I had obviously forgotten the exact color of sweaters allowed) and it wasn't brought to my attention until today. To me, it wasn't a big deal. I thought, "Great. Now I know. He won't wear it next time."

But to him, oh to him, when I mentioned he couldn't wear that sweater, the tears started to roll. "Why Mom?! Why? Am I in trouble?" His little brow was furrowed and his lip quivered as he spoke. He took the news so hard and didn't understand why that little yellow note said he wasn't allowed to wear his precious sweater. I wracked my brain trying to come up with a response and then, BINGO, I remembered that he is his father's child and needed a logical, simple answer to satisfy him and bring him out of his pit of despair. If I could show him it made sense, he'd accept it without question.

So I casually said with a grin, "Because Isaac, it's not your school colors. Your school colors are red and black (a certain type of plaid too but don't tell him that because it'd make things too complicated!) and your sweater is gray. That's why you can't wear it anymore." And it was as if the scales fell off his eyes and he could see. Immediately his tears dried up and a smile rebounded onto his face.

"Oh... of course Mama. Of course. Yes, I can't wear that sweater anymore. Only to church Mama."

And that my friends, is how a creative writer-type responds to the logical, "mathy" type...I guess I have learned something these past eight years being married to my nerdy of a husband. I usually have so many words (anyone surprised?) and tons of explanations. But to them, it just needs to be simple and make sense. Whenever I can pull this off, I usually am quite please with myself. Why? Because, it doesn't happen often.

However, I must say, I do think being married to my hubby has helped me to see the world in a totally different way and even though I don't always get it, I like it.

And even though I don't always get them, I must say, I do love them and all of their little logical ways....tons.


  1. That sounds very similar. We also have a writer married to a mathematician. Oh, the complications!

    You sweet boy - what a moving moment you captured. (With words AND logic! Ah ha!)

  2. I loved the response--not the school colors!
    So simple, yet full of meaning and reason.

    He can wear that little gray sweater anytime at grandma's house! :)

  3. So sweet. T and I were talking last night how we loved hearing about Isaac and his "reports" at the end of each day. These kids have no idea their entertainment value:) Sweet, Isaac. Good job, Ma!