Another school story…
One beautiful day, I was watching a group of little students who were playing in the corner of the playground. Suddenly, a group comes running towards me. By this time, I had been around children long enough to know that a group of children running in my direction is no cause for alarm (and is usually a “tattling/reporting session”) if a.) no one is crying, b.) no one is screaming and c.) no one is left behind on the ground. Turns out, I was right. Tattling. And here is the conversation:
The reporters: “Mrs. Gillespie, Mrs. Gillespie, Mrs. Gillespie, So-and-so just ate a worm!!!”
Me: “A worm?”
The reporters: “Yes, a worm!”
Me: *internal sigh* “Ok. Tell him to come here.”
The group of “reporters” (all 5 or 6 of them) run back to the scene of the crime to get the culprit (who, by now is sheepishly hiding behind the playground set). They return, with the “worm eater”, who is guiltily holding his head down. The reporters, meanwhile, are watching the following exchange in order to ensure proper consequences are meted.
Me: “Sweetie, did you eat a worm?”
Worm Eater: “Yes ma’am.”
Worm Eater: “I wanted to see what it tasted like.”
Me: “Hm. Soooo, how did it taste?”
Worm Eater: pausing… looking into the sky while pondering the question, finally replies “Sweet.”
Me: “Sweet?? Hmmm. Ok. Let’s not eat worms. Ok? (Mental note: tell his mom that he ate a worm!)
Worm Eater: “Ok.” As he happily runs back to the play set.
Meanwhile, the “reporters” stand nearby, dejected because he didn’t get in “trouble”. I call them over.
Me: “So, when did you know So-and-so was going to eat a worm?”
The reporters: “When he told us.”
Me: “He told you he was going to eat a worm?”
The reporters: “Yes ma’am.”
Me: “Did you watch him dig for the worm?”
The reporters: (Sheepishly) “Yes ma’am…we helped him.”
Me: (desperately trying not to laugh) “You helped him?
The reporters: (Sheepishly) “Yes ma’am.”
Me: “Ok. Next time one of your friends tell you that he is going to eat a worm, don’t help him. Tell me before he eats it. I can’t… really… do… anything… afterwards. Ok?
The reporters: “Ok!” (and they happily run off to join the Worm Eater on the playground)
Meanwhile, I am left on the bench asking myself (aloud) if I really just had those conversations.
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