My daughter is at home today. The last two days have been crashing defeats at school, and we’re at a loss to figure out what to do next.
On Monday, her teacher called me, frantically, right as I was walking in to teach class. Expecting death and destruction, I was somewhat relieved when she said that St. A was fine, but that “there had been an incident”.
(Incident, my foot, I wanted to say. Don’t call me with 911 in the message unless you want me to send in the National Guard and Doogie Hauser).
Apparently, St. A was asked to pick up a paper towel on the floor of the bathroom. It was not her paper towel. When asked, she became angry, clenched her teeth, and growled, stomping her little foot in defiance.
Yes, people, this is a Code Red in Kindergarden terms.
“We need to nip this in the bud,” said the teacher, “can you come down here and talk to her?” I stared openmouthed at the phone. Is she kidding me? I have to teach Grammar right now, not deal with growling. Fine, fine, I thought. So, leaving my class in the hands of a free teacher, I scooted on down to St. A’s school, where she sat, alone, in the classroom doing seat work. She blubberingly explained to me that she got angry because it wasn’t her paper towel. I told her that we had to be helpers, and be kind to Ms. H, and try our best to not show anger, even when we feel angry. At least not to growl.
When St. A went to the bathroom to wash her face, Ms. H came over to me and explained in no uncertain terms that she felt that St. A’s reactions were “developmentally inappropriate”, and wondered if something were going on at home. “She’s scaring the other children,” she worried, “and that’s not good.”
Someone please tell me: what is a “developmentally appropriate” way for a 5-year-old to show anger? Seriously. I want to know. Because if clenching one’s teeth and stomping one’s foot are signals of a Unabomber in the making, then I’d like to know.
Apparently, the same thing happened on Tuesday in music class. The music teacher emailed me later on, asking for my “insight” into why St. A would have clenched her fists and stomped her foot when asked to sit apart from her BFF. Ummmm….I might stomp my foot a little in that case, too…
I’m not sure if there’s a problem with her expression of anger. There have been no major changes, nothing happening to make her more angry than usual. I don’t think that it’s unreasonable for a Kindergardener to be unable to express anger in an adult way (through biting sarcasm and the well-chosen expletive), but I wonder if R and I are allowing her to express anger in a way that acknowledges her feelings, but is under control.
Has anyone dealt with anything like this? Any ideas on how to deal with the Wrath of the Five-Year-Old?