Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Little Miss Administers Justice

Captain Adventure’s class has a serious problem right now with biting. For people who aren’t aware of this particularly charming phase of toddler development, there is an awkward period between roughly 18 and 30 months where kids sometimes will choose to use their teeth rather than their words to express such things as frustration, anger, ‘glad to see ya’ and other strong emotions. And when they’re in a herd situation…it compounds the problem dramatically. If one kid bites? They all start biting.

Yesterday morning, I was discussing this problem with Captain Adventure’s teacher – I had found a huge bite mark on his shoulder that had obviously not been noted when it happened, and since this was the second such ‘stealth’ bite I’d found on him in recent weeks I wanted to make sure they were aware that whoever this biter was, he was doing a number on Captain Adventure.

Suddenly, a little boy sitting at the table with two other children erupted into wails. “Owie! Owie! OWWWWWWIEEEEEE!” he shrieked.

“What happened?” exclaimed the teacher. “Rodger, honey, what happened? Where’s the owie?”

Of course, Rodger just continued wailing ooooowwwwwwwwieeeeeeeeeee, looking up at her through squinted-up miserable eyes and not even so much as pointing to where the owie was. (Another problem with toddlers: Captain Adventure, when he hurts himself, will wail…but not give you any idea what needs kissing or an ice pack or what-have-you.)

There was a Little Miss at the table. Picture if you will a tiny little Asian girl, her jet black hair tidily pulled up in pig tails, with soulful dark eyes, attired in a crisp little dress with matching tights no less. An absolute model of genteel toddlerness.

Little Miss had been sitting staring in disbelief at the scene unfolding before her. When it became obvious that Rodger wasn’t going to say anything, she jumped to her feet and flung her hand toward the two boys, pointing from one to the other in almost frantic motions. “HIM BIT HIM! HIM! HIM BIT HIM! HIM BIT HIM ON HIM ARM!!!!!”

Sure enough, there were chomp marks on Rodger’s little arm, and little Chomper was studiously pretending nothing existed in the whole world except the box of blocks as Teacher asked, sternly, if he had bitten Roger. His entire body radiated ‘GUILT’, but he shook his head without looking at her.

Little Miss was having none of that.

“Him!” she insisted, her finger swinging from predator to victim, the Scales of Justice dangling from her tiny fingers. “Him bit him! On him arm!! Him!! Him BIT him!!!”

As action was taken, the offender removed from the pack and scolded, she registered approval: “Yes. Him in corner. Sit! Bad! Bad biting him! In. Corner.” {pause, casting of dark and disapproving glance} “Mister! Bad biting! Sit there and think. tsk tsk tsk.”

I swear, I almost fell on the floor laughing. Her little face was stormy and unforgiving, a little miniature Ma’at. Chaos shall not have this room! I !forbid! it!!

Once Chomper was safely segregated from society, she began commanding care for the afflicted: “Him need ice. Ice please, teacher. Oh! Owie, poor baby…we get ice. Teacher? Him need ice. Owie OK? Ok. Owie. Tsk tsk tsk.”

While we obediently fetched ice, she made other reparations: the blocks whose ownership had apparently been in dispute were returned to Rodger, along with some ‘interest’ in the form of blocks Chomper had been using. Finally, she reached across the table, patted his shoulder tenderly and said, “There, there. OK. Good.”

And as she sat back down, there was an expression of utter contentment on her little face that positively melted me. All was definitely right in the world, now. Owie managed, culprit punished, reparations made.

A good day’s work for Little Miss.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, I remember those years! For some reason, both of mine were ripe juicy targets for the Chompers of their classrooms. I feel for you (and for Captain Adventure, of course!).