A few weeks ago, we had an "incident".
To back up a little, Mina has a classmate that, from the time he joined their class late in the year, took a liking to her.
At first, she came home and told me that he always insisted on sitting next to her at lunch. They aren't allowed to tell anyone that they can't sit with them at her school (a good rule, in my opinion), so I told her to try and sit between her friends if she didn't want to sit next to him.
Next she came home and told me that he put his arm around her and called her "his woman". Yes, this is a kindergartener we're talking about. She said it bugged her, but she would tell him to leave her alone.
A few weeks later, he smacked her butt. Again, she assured me that she would tell him in no uncertain terms that he needs to leave her alone.
I asked her if she told a teacher or if a teacher saw this happen, and she said no to both.
I also asked her if she wanted me to talk to her teacher. She said she would handle it.
If you don't know Mina, let me assure you that she is no wall flower. The girl knows how to speak her mind. I trusted her when she told me that I didn't need to step in.
Then, a few weeks ago Mina and I were driving to a dinner out. She had earned a free pizza through the Book-It program, and I thought it would be nice if I took just her to celebrate her accomplishment.
On the way there, we were just chatting about nothing when she said, "Mama, during resting time at school, Eric hit me in the (private) parts."
All at once, I felt my face go hot and my heart sink into my stomach. A million things raced through my mind and I had to concentrate on driving like I've never had to before.
I again asked her if she told the teacher, and again she didn't say anything.
Then she said, "Don't worry Mama. He's my problem."
And that's when I felt like throwing up in my lap.
I turned around and told her that I was now his problem.
I wanted to storm the castle the next morning, but instead wrote an email to her teacher and principal. They got back to me almost immediately. I knew they would. I also knew that if I went there in person to discuss it I would have gotten overly emotional and that wasn't going to solve anything.
I won't go into the whole spiel of how they handled it, but they handled it to my approval. I was pretty impressed with how quickly they took care of the matter. They took my concerns very very seriously and it was dealt with immediately.
Since then I've come to find out that Eric has a less-than-favorable home life. Really, I already knew that from his behavior. It doesn't take a psychologist to figure that one out.
Yesterday when I walked Mina into school, Eric was already lined up. He started talking to me about how tomorrow was his last day. He was going to "bring in cupcakes and suckers and balloons and candy" for everyone.
I asked him if he was moving away and he told me that he was going to live in Chicago with his grandparents.
I didn't ask him why, but he was more than willing to share the reason: "Carol yells at me too much."
He told me Carol was his foster mom.
His foster mom yells at him too much, so now he is being uprooted to a whole other life to live with grandparents who, for whatever reason, didn't have him living with them in the first place.
I was never angry with Eric for what he did. I knew in my heart that he was only acting out. I hate that my kid was the target of his misguided affection. I hate that this kid may fall between the cracks in the Chicago Public School system, may grow up angry and lonely from being shuffled around in his formative years.
I don't know most of this kid's story, and I kind of wish I did. I feel for the little guy.
Never would I put anyone before my own children, but I still feel like he deserves what every kid deserves: a loving home to live in and people who care about him.
As for Mina, she seems just fine. Every once in a while Jim or I will ask her if anyone "bothered" her at school today. Aside from the usual mean older kids on the playground saying stupid shit to the little kids, she's fine.
Eric brought in cookies and juice today. Eric told Mina that that's all Carol would let him bring.
Not that that's nothing, but I could see how excited he was to tell me about his big plans for today. I know. I'm being melodramatic. I've become quite a softy in my old age.
Bottom line is, someone failed him. I hope his grandparents can pick up the slack.
For Your Scrapbook
- ▼ April (5)