A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Larcenous tendencies

Brianna recently came to me with a shiny purple Matchbox-style car. She told me Hannah brought it home from school. This occurred shortly after I decided to thin out her PJ drawer and found: a taco bell sauce packet, one of Eli's Matchbox cars, and a used piece of math scratch paper squirrelled away in there. Something about it didn't sit right with me, so I emailed her teacher.

"Hey, Hannah brought home a shiny purple car, and I wanted to check and see if it was a prize of some sort or if it belongs at the school."

The reply I received confirmed my funny feeling.

"The car belongs here. I am not sure who it belongs to so I had put it in the basket next to the door. She asked about it several times and asked who it belonged to. I told her I didn’t know and it needed to stay in the basket until I found out. She probably took it on her way out the door."

Sigh. I knew I had to deal with this. And I knew I had to walk the fine line between letting her know this was NOT okay, and freaking her out to make her hide stuff.

I talked to her. Which is tough because 1) she's 4, and 2) she's only been speaking English a little over a year. We established that she did take the car after Miss P told her it was not hers. I asked her what needed to happen, and she said in a tiny voice that it needed to go back to school. Okay. I told her, "Here's what we're going to do. You're going to write a note," here she started to tear up "and we're going to give the note and the car back to Miss P." She was crying. After more discussion, it was determined that she was crying because...

...she had no idea what writing a note meant. Sigh. It's funny, because everyone always says what excellent English she speaks. And she DOES, really. But there are *gaps* both in her language and in her experiences, that I don't even think about until I'm confronted with something that pierces me like an arrow to the heart.
So I explained what writing a note meant. Then I fired up the Start Write software and composed a note for her to trace. (Start Write prints in dotted letters. Very cool for primary aged kids.)
And I was a little more conscious than usual about explaining what I was doing, and showing her the printer and identifying what it was doing. Because I forget that (unlike the other kids) she didn't grow up pushing the power button on my CPU and then crawling away giggling.
She traced so carefully. She really did a beautiful job of it.
I stapled the baggie containing the car to the note and stuck it into her backpack. And ached on the inside for a little girl whose concept of ownership was formed not in a family, but in an orphange.

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