Luke has been doing a lot better in school since "the incident." That was the day when he refused to listen, got a sad face on his daily report, and had to write an apology letter to his teachers. Apparently in his class before you get a sad face report, you get three chances to change your behavior.
When you enter Luke's class, there is a large poster hanging on the wall. Each kid's name has a green crayon next to it. On the first incidence of bad behavior, the teacher gives a verbal reminder. On the second incident, they change the green crayon to a yellow one. On the third incident, the yellow crayon is changed to red and there is a general shock that ripples through the class. Kind of like a kindergarten Scarlet Letter, displayed prominently for any potential copycatters.
So before Luke even got home on the day of "the incident," he knew what he had done. He had been reminded several times to change his behavior, and when that red crayon came out, he cried.
"NOOOOOOOOOOO! NOT THE RED CRAYON!"
Since this time, his behavior in class has been great. Luke doesn't want to repeat the stigma of the red crayon. I learned all this tonight at Luke's Back to School Open House. Lots of Luke's classmates attended with their parents, but Luke wasn't with me. That's because when Nate picked him up from the after school program, he was told that Luke refused to listen to instructions and refused to participate in activities. It was very unlike him.
When I got home from the open house, Luke had been on a rampage for a long time. Nate was fed up and busy giving the boys baths, so I sat down to talk to Luke. I am at a loss for what could be going on. I was just hoping he would tell me something. The kid sure does know how to throw a good temper tantrum, but I know he likes school and likes the after school program too, so to get such bad reports is odd.
Me: Buddy, did something make you mad or sad today?
Luke: No, I just had a rough day.
Me: Luke, was someone mean to you at school?
Luke: Nope. Everyone is very nice to me.
Me: I am just trying to understand what happened today. What made you have a rough day?
Luke: My stomach made me do it.
Me: Excuse me?
Luke: My stomach wasn't listening. It kept telling me to go and jump on the blue mat. I know I am not supposed to jump on the blue mat. But my stomach told me I had to do it.
Me: You mean you were hungry? Or you felt like you were going to throw up?
Luke: No, Mommy. I mean that my stomach is not a good listener and it was telling me bad things to do. And then my after school counselor told Daddy (lips tremble, and we stop talking to fend off tears and another meltdown).
I was so perplexed. He was adamant that it was his stomach. But he ate dinner well. He didn't complain about pain. He knows to go to the toilet if he feels that he needs to be sick. We are so good at figuring out what is going on with Will without language, so I kept looking for signs from Luke in the was acting... what was the cause of this weirdness?
Then it occurred to me. Luke may have learned how to lie. When he was speech delayed, he was having trouble with just coming up with the words to describe himself and his feelings. Now that he is able to better communicate (and, I also learned tonight, can read more than 100 words and is at the top of his class when it comes to reading abilities), he has the ability to twist things. How can you get upset with Luke for his behavior when he can blame it on something else?
But not another student or his brothers or an imaginary friend... he blamed his stomach. I've got to give him credit for creativity. And hope that we continue to put him on the right path! But how do you teach a kid not to lie when he may have convinced himself that his bad attituded stomach is to blame? I am just struggling... there is even a lesson to teach with this one?