Moments of Joey sharing his thoughts.
Joey and I were enjoying the Ninja Red Riding Hood and Three Ninja Pigs books, and so I thought I’d introduce another spin on the Red Riding Hood tale. Joey seemed excited at first, but shortly after beginning the book – The Cat, The Dog, Little Red, The Exploding Eggs, The Wolf, and Grandma, it was clear that this story was not nearly as interesting to him as the Ninja series. This book, by Diane Fox, tells the Red Riding Hood story from the perspective of a cat and a dog arguing over the story. The cat is trying to read the story, while the dog interrupts with questions and silly assumptions. Unfortunately, as we read, I realized this story has an older sense of humor than Joey is interested in.
Joey tried to stay focused on the story, and participated in simple comprehension questions when I asked him to, with prompts and repetition. When I asked him a comprehension question that required more thinking, he paused and looked at me. Then he turned back to his words.
“Sorry” he said “bored.” and after a beat, he added, “Cage.”
Harsh, my friend!
Yet descriptive. I imagine that when Joey is bored, he does feel like he is strapped in a cage, unable to move or protest, but instead forced to sit and listen. Of course, sitting and listening is a polite and needed life skill, and I appreciate that Joey was able to fane interest as long as he did – until I asked a question that required more thought. Oops. At least he apologized. I acknowledged his feelings, recognized that we wouldn’t read the story again, but also insisted that we finish it because, as I tell my own children, being bored sometimes is a fact of life.
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For the next session, I arrived on a chilly November afternoon. Joey smiled at me, and then said “Snore, tired, blanket, crib.” Then he yawned. I certainly understood how he felt. It was just that right kind of chilliness that makes you want to stay in bed, or wrap up with a warm blanket. Sadly, I could not accommodate him. Despite his ability to tell me what he wanted, we needed to power through. I hope he was able to get a nap later in the day.
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At another recent session, I thought Joey was bored and off-topic as he started selecting numbers while we read a Piggie and Gerald book. After gently prodding him to get back on topic, and telling him that there was nothing about numbers in the story, I looked at the page number. Sure enough, Joey was telling me what page we were on. As random and off-topic as that seems, if you’ve ever taught in a kindergarten or first grade classroom, you’ll recognize that those types of comments “MRS LIPSETT!! WE ARE READING PAGE 42!!” is not out of the ordinary. So, in this case, Joey was showing fairly age appropriate tangential commenting. I apologize for telling him he was off topic, acknowledged that yes, we were on page 42, and then gently pointed out that this was not part of the story, so it was, in fact, slightly off topic. Still, I love that he was aware and observant. How many times have I assumed he was off topic when really, he was pointing out something to me?