Skip to main content


Preschoolers cope with stress in much the same ways adults do. Most of the kids in my class are secure in their families, but two of them are dealing with major life changes. Paul's parents are in the midst of a messy divorce. Lisa's grandma, recently diagnosed with cancer, has moved in with her family and stolen some of the attention to which Lisa, an only child, is accustomed. Paul and Lisa, though never social butterflies, have withdrawn completely from participation in class activities. I understand how they feel. Withdrawal is my main coping mechanism when I'm feeling the weight of my world's stressors. Maybe I should try some of the other coping strategies I've seen Paul and Lisa use.
  • Throw things. Paul lets off steam by chucking play food over the bookshelf into the reading center. Lisa hurls foam blocks at other children. I wish I could condone the behavior and channel it into a nice game of catch, but mostly I have to explain to them why we don't throw things in the classroom. It's hard to do when I feel like throwing, too. Remember in Better Off Dead when Monique is frustrated with Ricky the Unleashed Sex Fiend, and Lane Meyer finds her pitching baseballs at a street sign? Maybe I should take up pitching. Or target shooting.
  • Run. OK, so I already do this. I just need to learn to run when somebody calls to me. And then hide.
  • Cry. Crying is so very cathartic, but socially unacceptable, even when in the company of those who love you. People just can't deal with tears. Sometimes a kid (or a grownup) just needs to cry. We haven't made room for that, and many of us as adults are emotionally stopped up.
  • Poop my pants. If I'm not emotionally stopped up, then I'm stopped up somewhere else. Not so one of my little friends at school. It's a control issue. There are really only two things a kid can control: eating and eliminating. Paul chooses not to eat and to poop in his pants. Unfortunately, that's not socially acceptable either.
  • Talk to a loved one. Today Paul and I sat on the sidewalk. He said to me, "Let's talk about cars." I said, "OK. What kind of car does your mom drive?" He told me. He also told me what kind of car his dad drives, and he told me that Maxwell doesn't drive a car because he's a dog. Then he looked me straight in the eye and said, "I'm forty-five." I laughed out loud, and he laughed with me.
Paul, I know exactly what you mean.


Fit Right said…
I don't know many children who are savvy enough to cope in the way that you've so beautifully done here: through a great sense of humor. Good for you for being lighthearted about some of the stuff that's weighing heavily on you right now.
sulu-design said…
So sorry... "Fit Right" is my husband's work profile.
The above comment was from me!
Gnightgirl said…
THIS one should be published. I'm doing my share of coping over here right now also, and this in ingenius. The throwing, I can do. Crying, sure. Talking yes. Pooping my pants? I'm not sure I could do that if there was $1,000,000 on the line.

I'll go try that now.
Ana said…
Love this. Kids really are our best teachers.
I personally prefer the crying... And though it may not be socially acceptable, you should know that I think it's completely normal and would be happy to lend a shoulder should you need one (no questions asked!). Goodness knows I dump on you on a regular basis! =]
Vinho said…
Hello. This post is likeable, and your blog is very interesting, congratulations :-). I will add in my blogroll =). If possible gives a last there on my blog, it is about the Vinho, I hope you enjoy. The address is A hug.

Popular posts from this blog

wotd: temporize

temporize \TEM-puh-ryz\, intransitive verb:
1. To be indecisive or evasive in order to gain time or delay action.
2. To comply with the time or occasion; to yield to prevailing opinion or circumstances.
3. To engage in discussions or negotiations so as to gain time (usually followed by 'with').
4. To come to terms (usually followed by 'with').

It's easy to tell yourself that you'll write a daily blog entry using the word of the day from dictionary(dot)com as a prompt, and equally easy to temporize your daily entry by waffling over what to write about, or evading your obligation by procrastination. There. Bedtime.

expanding my culinary horizons

After last night's culinary debacle, today's culinary surprise was particularly welcome. My dear friend Rukmi brought me lunch! Rukmi is Sri Lankan. She cooks the best food. I ate a fish and egg croquette, lentil curry, saffron rice, all with delicious chicken and what I thought might be tuna. I asked Rukmi what the meat was, and she told me it's all chicken. "The flat, triangular meat? With the spices? Is it tuna?"

She laughed lightly. "That's a wegetable," she said, in her lovely Sinhalese way.

"Oh, yeah? Like a beet?" That made sense, because it flaked like tuna steak or like beets might.

"It is jackfruit."

Jackfruit? Jackfruit! I ate jackfruit today. Rukmi told me all about it: she used canned young jackfruit she bought at G & L Market on 22nd St.; fully grown jackfruits are gigantic and if one fell on your head it could kill you. When fully ripe, jackfruit is full of big pods that each have a seed in the middle, like a po…

the more things change...

So many reasons it's been a long time since we took the boys out thrift store shopping. Yesterday, Tuesday, both of us had a full day off to spend as we pleased.

First we ate at Chaffin's Diner. They seated us in the less-dinery back room, which ended up being a good thing because we sat directly beneath a fan and didn't notice so much the heat. E drank decaff coffee with cream. I didn't notice sugar. Decaff, like his Uncle D. Coffee, like his Mimi.

We hit Shop for a Cause first, where the boys found nothing and subsequently sulked.

Next we pulled into the Humane Society Thrift Store, which I haven't visited in a long time. Historically I haven't found anything there.

Today we hit the treasure jackpot.

A $2 Ziploc bag containing the comprehensive plastic presidential contingent from Washington through Eisenhower.

Of course E had them ordered in a matter of moments.

Finally we escaped the store with a trove of treasures (more than I've found in one place in …