(Car accident update: after some digging around, I've concluded it's unlikely anyone was seriously injured in that accident because I can find things about other accidents that night, but nothing is written about the one I saw.)
So here's a picture of Harper imitating Alex the Lion from the Madagascar movies...
She does look like a bit of a trouble-maker, no?
Well it finally happened, yesterday Harper got in trouble at school.
I knew something wasn't right when I picked her up because she wouldn't talk to me and she did not say her day was "great," as she usually does. We were driving home and I told her I feel worried when something is wrong and she won't tell me what it is. She finally said that her feelings got hurt but was clear that she didn't want to talk about it.
Then she said, "Mom of all the days of past school I have had in both of my schools, today was different, there was never a day like today. When I get home I want to go to my room and have some self-time to think about things. Then maybe I will tell you about it."
Now as she is saying this I am simultaneously fighting back tears and laughter, because she is so serious about it. On the one hand, my heart is breaking because obviously something has really upset her. On the other hand, I am trying not to laugh because OH. MY. GOODNESS. Could she be any more dramatic? I just need some self-time? Who is this child?
Harper did go to her room for a few minutes when we got home. Then she slunk out, and climbed up on my lap, and said she didn't want to tell me what happened because I might be angry. I promised not to get angry and told her I would just like to talk about what was bothering her.
Apparently Harper's teacher saw her kick a book and sent her to sit by herself at a table until she was ready to behave. Which, in the context of a preschool class, is not a huge transgression or an especially embarrassing/difficult to handle punishment. I mean, obviously I don't want her going around kicking books and getting time-outs, but I think an isolated incident of misbehavior is normal. Harper says that someone else threw the book on the floor and she just wasn't paying attention and kicked it on accident. Which I find to be an equally suspicious and plausible explanation.
Rather than debating whether or not it was a purposeful action, we talked about having to take responsibility for what we do, even when we do something wrong accidentally. Harper was still clearly very upset, and embarrassed I think, about the whole incident - I asked if she wanted me to help her write an apology note to her teacher.
Harper liked the idea so we talked about what she wanted to say, I wrote it down, and she copied it (which took FOREVER):
The note says:
Dear Miss H-,
I am sorry for kicking the book. I will pay attention next time.
Underneath her note she drew a picture of her teacher and also wrote the word book again. Please note it has all the elements of a thorough apology: addressing the person you've wronged, saying what you are sorry for, and telling what you'll do differently in the future. Never too young to learn!
I want it to be clear that I didn't make her do this as part of a punishment (seriously, the poor girl was punishing herself enough!), but I genuinely thought it would help her feel better, which it did. That note is, however, exactly the sort of thing I would do as part of the consequence for a more significant transgression at school.
For the record, the teacher didn't even mention the book-kicking to me. There was no school today because of a teachers' meeting, so her teacher will probably be surprised when Harper shows up with the apology note tomorrow. I'm sure she hasn't thought about the book-kicking nearly as much as Harper has!