04 March 2010

Mean Lunch Man

Anna is a little emotional. Tonight I told her "just cry it out. sometimes you feel better if you just cry." and she did. hopefully it is all out and tomorrow is a new day.

Here's the story...

Anna is selling major saver cards for a school fundraiser. Last weekend she and I went to two neighbor houses and they bought cards but I did most of the talking. I was telling her she should do the talking since it is her fundraiser but she said she was really nervous.

Yesterday she got up the courage to try another neighbor all by herself. I watched her from the window run next door. She came back tears welled in her eyes. Jean didn't buy one. Anna was devastated. I felt like I witnessed a moment she'll remember forever. You know the ones where you always remember how you felt at that moment.

She has been asking me to come eat lunch with her at school. I guess a lot of stay at home parents do this and the kid and parent can sit at a different table and the parent can bring a cooler lunch. So today I didn't have any meetings and I said I would come. I was just a few minutes late getting there and couldn't find her.

She was sitting in the "safe spot" which is basically a nicer way of saying timeout. I walked over and she immediately started crying. We went to the parent-kid table and she said she was in there because she was talking when the red cup was up. WTF I am thinking. I quickly learned there is a stick at each table with two cups on it. If the black one is up you can talk. If the red one is up you cannot.

I got her calmed down and we ate. A teacher came over while we were eating and said he needed to talk to Anna about being in the safe spot. He said she shouldn't talk to his class when the red cup is up and could she work on that. She nodded and again I thought she would have a complete meltdown.

There was also this guy who looked like a janitor but seemed to be running the lunch room. He was barking orders at all the kids "silverware in here" "puts your tops on" (lids on milk containers) "be quiet" "turn around" "young man you are too loud" no pleases or smiles or happiness in the air at all.

I was a little scared and intimidated and wasn't sure if I could talk and what happens if I don't do something in the right order. It seemed like a miserable sad lunch. When the kids got slightly loud he went down the line and put red cups on all the sticks and made them all be quiet. Anna said he is kind of "mean" and I thought that was an understatement. No one else seemed phased by this and there were a few other parents there. Even the principal came in for awhile and didn't say anything.

I thought it was awful.

Is it like this every day? I asked her. And she nodded.

So tonight after bath she just started crying and I told her just cry it out. She doesn't want to go to school because I guess this teacher who put her in the safe spot sits at the table next to her every day. She said she will be the quietest kid at lunch tomorrow. I feel so bad for her. She just wants to talk to her friends. They can't talk in class so for god's sake let them chat at lunch. It's one of the only times they see kids from other classes. I mean you expect a five year old to not talk all day and only at recess?

So tomorrow is a new day I told her. She asked me to make her a lunch. Now I know why she says the best part of her day is reading the note I write in her lunch box.


Susan said...

This post made me cry. I definitely think you should speak to the Director about the mean Lunch Man. Part of his job is to be able to interact with children in a safe, non threatening manner. If he can't do that, he should be fired.

Anna has such a wonderful mommy to help her through this. You're right. This is a defining moment for her - and you.

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

ok i read your earliest post and this one...I think I agree with Anna, no more school those people are nutz. I guess they have reasons for all of it, but it does seem like lunch is where they should get to be more open..I mean school is about teaching you to socialize