Sunday, November 7, 2010

Porcupines and other sticky wickets

Alison was pretty upset Thursday when I picked her up from school. Seems one friend had told her that another friend had called Alison a name -- a hyper dork to be exact -- and Alison was some ticked off.

"I'm going to talk to Mrs. Zinkan about this," she said. "(She-who-should-not-be-named)is kind of a teacher's pet and I bet Mrs. Zinkan will be pretty interested in this kind of behavior."

"You think that's the best way to handle it?" I asked. "Tell me more about it."

It turns out said slur could have occurred anytime in the past two years, covering the time Mrs. Zinkan had completed her tour of 2nd grade duty. She's got the class back for their 4th grade year. Alison is sure the slight happened because she can always tell when her informant is lying, "And she's definitely not lying about this."

I suggested that perhaps Mrs. Zinkan didn't need to be called in, given that the slander had happened so long ago. Maybe it would be better to just talke to She-who-should-not-be-named.

"I think I'll have (the informant) with me for backup," Alison strategized.

Good idea. So the confrontation occured Friday. She-who-should-not-be-named denied the whole thing. The informant stood by Ali, figuratively and verbally. Alison had decided not to involve Mrs. Zinkan, though she's certain that she-who-should-not-be-named has flaming pants.

Flash forward to Saturday afternoon. The doorbell rings. Two neighorhood girls are at the door. "We have to talk to Alison," says Maddie from across the street, who tends to visit when she's on her father's weekend. With her is Melanie, from down the street, a full-time neighbor. Both are younger than Alison, and sometimes that matters more than others.

I direct them downstairs where the redhead awaits. I hear a bit of a commotion and go to the top of the stairs. I can hear them but they can't see me.

Turns out, Maddie has informed Melanie that Alison said Melanie cries a lot. They've come to confront her. I gulp. I want to go down there, but seems like the sauce is being served and I want to see how the gander deals with it.

"Well, you said it too, Maddie," I hear Alison say.

"Did not."

"You did, too! I was standing right there!" says Ali, who sighs heavily. "Look. Melanie. I am so sorry. I did say it but I just want you to know I had had a really bad day that day. My friend had been getting in trouble at school and I was trying to help her not get a conduct cut and it was really stressful. And then you two came over and you stubbed your toe or something and you cried. A lot."

"I'm sorry," Alison repeated. "But I was having a bad day that day."

"Did you get a conduct cut?" gasped the formerly injured Melanie. (Each girl attends Catholic school, but different ones. They all must follow the conduct cut discipline plan, though.)

"No, I didn't, but Madison did. She got four that week!" Alison said.


"Yeah. OK. Well, see you later."

"See you."

I scooted out of the way as the two girls came back up. "Bye!" they said. "See you tomorrow!"

Alison popped upstairs a while later. I asked her what that was all about and she related the details blow-by-blow. I told that while I didn't want her to hurt anyone's feelings, I was proud of her for not lying about the statement that started the whole thing.


Last night, Jeff was putting Ali to bed and he leaned in to kiss her.

"Da-ad! Kissing you is like kissing a porcupine!" she exclaimed, trying to get away from the whisker burn.

"Oh, sorry, honey. I'll shave these off tomorrow," he said.

"That's OK, Dad. I love porcupines," she said.

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