No Tolerance for Mumbling – #5 QueenBeePost Top Ten Posts

Charlie began to brief me on gym class the instant he got in the car at school pickup.

“The gym teacher has no tolerance for me.”

“What do you mean?”

“He’s so strict he sent me to the corner in gym class for mumbling. Mumbling! I wasn’t even talking to anyone else. I was just mumbling to myself.”

“Yea…the mumbling, sometimes known as talking back to the teacher under your breath, will get you in trouble every time.”

“Are you and this guy friends?”

“No. I just know from personal experience that it’s the sort of thing that can really get an adult, like a teacher or a Mom worked up.”

“You should’ve been a teacher…instead you’re a mom…which is practically the same thing…Both annoying…Both types only like silence.”

“Well, what else happened at school today? Anything good?”

“We had to tell a story — make something up and tell it in front of the whole class. I did a really funny one and everybody laughed….even the teacher. Then, we had to write a truthful story down on paper. My first sentence was, ‘I didn’t do much this summer.’ The teacher came over and looked at my paper because I only had that one sentence and she asked if I had watched television or played video games? I told her I had and she said that she’d like to read about it and so I wrote two paragraphs about Mine Craft.”

“Charlie, you could have written all about Spy Camp and Art Camp and how much you hated those camps. You could have gotten the whole experience off your chest by writing about it.”

No response. Then, apropos of nothing we’d talked about so far, Charlie asked, “Do people get in trouble a lot when they are in the military?”

“I don’t think so because there are some pretty hefty rules and codes of behavior for the men and women in the military. The rules have to be followed so the soldiers can stay alive during combat or when they’re stationed in dangerous areas of the world.”

“That’s no place for me.”

“Why are you asking about the military?”

“No reason really. The gym teacher was kind of like a drill sergeant, though. I can tell I definitely wouldn’t make it in the army. I’m a talker and a laugh-er, Mom. If you can’t talk and laugh when you need to, then what’s the point?”

“Well part of growing up is learning about timing…when to talk…when to be quiet….when it’s okay to laugh…when it’s not too disruptive to joke around. Third grade’s a perfect time to start learning that.”

“I’m telling you right now, I’m NEVER going to learn that. That takes away from who I am, Mom.”

No response from me… I’ve remained somewhat dumbfounded by this exchange with my nine-year-old. I am reminded, once again, that I’d better be ready for anything with Charlie Bollinger, the resident rebel, comedian, wise man. The challenges he brings to our family (and there are many: high energy, quick wit, daily Dennis the Menace high jinx, carefree fun that quickly escalates to spastic delirium) are also his gifts. This kid can make me more angry than any of my other three children, but, you know, he can also make me laugh harder than anybody I’ve ever known. This teacher-mother, who often craves silence and calm, better not forget to treasure every second with this vibrant and zany boy. I’d better be careful, very careful, not to quash the precious stuff that makes Charlie exactly who he is.Image

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