Yikes, I let 3 days go by without posting.
This was another quick week. It seemed to just fly by. On Wednesday J and W asked to do a science experiment from one of the library books J picked out. It's a whole book on water experiments and we chose one on water pressure, gravity, and surface tension that used an old soda bottle with a few holes punched into it. J explained out loud what it was we were looking for and how cool it was. The kids noticed so many different things.
J met up with the handball friends at the playground again and W met some new kids and played tag with them. J had dance in the afternoon and I took W to that playground over there again. I talked to him again about treating other kids nicely and he was the friendliest I'd ever seen him. He met a few new kids and got a new game of tag going and then hide-and-seek. He prefers playing with older kids - ones that can teach him new things, I guess. The school park kids were between 8 and 10, and the dance studio park kids were between 6 and 9. He seems to have outgrown being a sore loser and even pushes himself hard to keep up.
K hasn't been off my nerves for 3 days. I started analyzing the situation again and realized that at school, there is definitely no respect for the teachers and even less respect for the students. I think middle school is a whole 'nother planet, actually. I think the teachers feel powerless against these kids will exert their own power in the only way they can - being really nitpicky about tests (K failed a math test for "sloppiness"), punishing the whole class for the actions of one, and being insulting (whether it's subtle of overt). This is done to excess - I've seen it in K's school (and she is in one of the "better" schools in this city). So the kids hook up together with a gang mentality (us against them), consisting of like-minded others (clique) and find there's strength in numbers. The "I have to fit in or I'll be alone" fear/attitude runs rampant and then they bring it home to their parents - because it doesn't just turn off like a switch. Once the teachers are out of the picture for the afternoon, the parents and siblings may take their place in the "us against them". Parents won't deal with this attitude and will audibly wonder what has happened to their good kid (causing tons of frustration on both sides) and the kids will shut themselves up in their rooms and stay on the phone (or IM) for hours with the like-minded others. It feels good to fit in and be accepted. Friends are fickle at this age. Parents are "safe" and kids know it. So, guess who gets the disrespect? Here's a hint: it's not their friends.