There are some very specific memories that stand out to me from my days in Elementary School. More specifically, my days at Baskin Elementary School in Baskin, LA. I attended that school until 4th grade when my family left LA to move to Jackson, MS.
3rd Grade- There was a specific rule about no gum or candy. If you were caught with either, you had to stand in the corner in front of the entire class and you were at the end of the line for the entire day. We came in from recess one day and the girl who sat next to me had a ring pop on her finger. She had the nerve to tell me that MY boyfriend (well, in my dreams) had asked her to marry him and he gave her that engagement ring. Well, I wasn't stupid! I knew that wasn't a real ring, it was a ring pop...CANDY! I called the teachers name (Mrs. McFarland, but we all called her Old McFartland behind her back) to politely tell her that my friend was telling a lie and was really eating candy. My teacher thanked me so much for bringing that to her attention. She called me to the front of the class for what I assumed to be public recognition for honesty and justice but instead turned out to be a public humiliation for being a tattle-tail! Needless to say, I ended up in the corner and my ex-friend went right on eating her ring pop and planning her wedding to My boyfriend.
2nd Grade- I turned in a math homework sheet with ZERO of the questions answered. My teacher marked every single answer with a red x. She then put a big fat zero on my paper. Before I got home that day, I filled in all of the answers then showed it to my mom. She was appalled that my teacher did not pay better attention to my work and marked every answer wrong when they were clearly right. She totally validated my feelings of how the teacher must have hated me. If only I had known she would march right into the school the next day to discuss this little matter with her. Needless to say, my mom never took my side over the teacher's side again. And, if the teacher did hate me, I think she understood why.
1st Grade- The perm! I had to have a perm. Looking back, I'm pretty sure my mom talked me into it. I've always had bad hair. A perm could only help...right? WRONGO! I got a 90 year old lady perm. I walked into my first grade class and all the kids looked at me and almost fell out of their desks laughing. Other than their grandmothers, they had never seen anyone with hair rolled that tight who came out in public. It was a bad year.
Kindergarten- Such a painful memory of the day I walked into my class after crying all the way to school all the while begging my mom not to make me go in. I had just left the eye doctor where I picked up my brand new glasses. I was the only kid in my class who wore glasses. My mom told my teacher ahead of time that I would come late wearing glasses. My teacher talked to the class (warned and threatened them) about being nice to me and not making me feel out of place. I walked in and they clapped for me. They asked me questions about what it was like to wear glasses. They drew cute pictures for me. Then, at recess, they called me four eyes. They said only stupid people wore glasses. They told me I was ugly. (They should have waited a year until they saw me with that perm and those glasses!!!) They took every shot they could. I started faking sick so I could stay home. The little girl who loved school suddenly hated it. The teachers all told me I was cute. Ugh! Who wanted an old teacher to say you were cute when you knew all your friends hated your new look?? Needless to say, I eventually felt somewhat normal wearing glasses and it was just another part of who I was. But, tonight, my mommy heart is revisiting all of those painful memories because my own little four year old has cried his eyes out this afternoon begging me not to make him wear glasses.
His doctor diagnosed him with pretty significant vision issues this afternoon. Glasses aren't an option. He must wear them. I quietly wiped my tears as I told him how cool he would look. He immediately said "but my friends will laugh at me!" The 31+ years head start in life that I have on him knows that will be true but I have to somehow convince him that doesn't matter.
We looked at glasses two different places and he cried and kept asking to "stop trying more on" so we quit for the night. We'll try again tomorrow. Maybe a full night of sleep for both of us will set the tone for a better day tomorrow. And, maybe, just maybe I will figure out a way to make this a happy experience for him so he doesn't have to blog about it 25 years later!!