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Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Artsy-Fartsy 14 Year-Old

Not since my youngest son was four and lifted up the skirt of the little girl in front of him in line while waiting for the water fountain have I received such an embarrassing phone call. When I saw that it was the middle school on a Monday, I immediately assumed my 2nd son was in the office calling me again because he had forgotten his football practice gear. But when I answered, I was surprised to hear a woman's voice addressing me as Mrs. Adams.

I jumped to the conclusion that the school secretary, wary of kids transferring stomach bugs to her receiver, decided to make the call for him. "Hello, yes, Mrs. Adams, this is Mrs. Collingswold. I teach your son math." This formal introduction from someone who knows I know that she teaches my son math made the hair on my arms stand up.

"Because there is no way to put this any nicer, I'm just going to say it. Your son drew male parts on the hand of another boy in class today."

Arms? Legs? What? My head spun.

She must have sensed that I was not computing the message. "The male anatomy, That's clearly what it was."

My silence was interpreted as ignorance, thus she spelled it out for me: "Jen-i-taaaaylllll-ya, Mrs. Adams."

"Oh," I at last whispered, horrified.

"I didn't write a referral," she explained, "but I told him I would be calling you. He comes from such a nice family and has so much potential. I wanted to let you and your husband handle this at home."

I hung on the words "nice family," glad that she still thought so. But I was at a loss for how to punish him for this egregious act. He's my middle child, See-Some-Evil set amidst his siblings, Say-Some-Evil, Do-Some-Evil and Tattle-Some-Evil. I've never had to exact flesh from him before.

My friend Charlotte, when I spilled my mortified guts to her, and she finally caught her breath from laughing, suggested that I make my son draw on my hand what he drew at school on the other child's hand. I refuse, however, to go around with male "Jen-i-taaaaylllll-ya" on my self. I don't want to be conspicuously marked as the mother of a "prevert," as my children say. That reproach might be effective, but wouldn't a time-tested lecture work just as well?

When he climbed in the car after football practice, I confronted him. "So, you've been drawing p***ses at school, in math class." His face pinked. "Were you measuring them? Comparing sizes? What? What do p***ses have to do with math?" Every time I said "p***s" he flinched and his face turned a deeper shade of red. Then I assured him that I know all about 14 year-old boys and their fascination with body parts. I named a few of the ones more shocking coming from his mother's mouth.

"What are you at school for?" I rhetorically demanded. "To learn. To do your studies. To prepare for your future. Do you have a 100 in every class? No. No, you don't." I could tell that since I had dropped the use of the word "p***s," he had begun to stare out of the car window and ignore me. So I said, "I tell you what. I'll make a deal with you. When you have a 100 in every class, I'll buy you a notebook just for drawing pictures of p***ses. You can draw p***ses all day in every class, all shapes and sizes of them." He sank in his seat.

This tactic was probably a mistake. He will likely make sure that he never has a 100 in every class.

It also didn't curb his appetite for trouble at school, seeing as how I got a phone call on Tuesday from another teacher informing me that he and two other boys got sent to the office for laughing and making paper airplanes.

As much as I hate to do it, looks like I'm going to have to make that child draw on Charlotte's hand.


Mike said...

You were so slow to catch on, I'm surprised the math teacher didn't offer to 'draw you a picture'!

Great story!

shelly said...


William Kendall said...

Oh, that's hilarious!

MP said...

So, I'm unclear...why, exactly, would you not want to go around with a penis on you? Sounds like a rather nice way to go about a's not like it's growing out of you or anything.