Tuesday, April 24, 2007

But What If They See Red?!

We have seventh grade field day scheduled for this Friday (weather permitting). As per tradition, each of the three seventh grade teams wears either red, white or blue to indicate which team they are on. Events include volleyball, kickball, tug of war, and quite a few others which serves to keep our kids busy the entire day. On my white board is message regarding the events as well as a reminder to wear a red shirt on Friday.

Today, while I'm introducing and discussing our final Severe Weather Project, Doughboy raises his hand. Now, regular readers of this blog know that any teacher who calls on Doughboy is taking a gamble because we never, ever, know what will come out of Doughboy's mouth. Foolish me, I forgot this, and called on Doughboy.

"Why do we have to wear red?" he asks. I stop going over the assignment and explain about the red shirts on field day. Now with almost any other kid I would have been a bit annoyed that we were straying far off topic, but we've learned that Doughboy just lives in a bit of an alternate reality. My answer, however, seems to satisfy him so we get back to the weather.

Doughboy, however, raises his hand again and I, like an idiot, call on him.

"What about the bulls?" he asks.

"The bulls?" I ask. I have absolutely no idea what he's talking about. The rest of the kids in class have all perked up and are listening intently.

"The bulls! They like red! Will we be safe from the bulls?" Doughboy queries. He's obviously concerned and just a tad upset. It dawns on me that he's talking about bull, as in big cow with horns.

"Doughboy have you ever seen any bulls here at school?"

"No, but we have lots of farms around here and I don't think we should wear red because of the bulls!"

At this point the entire class is choking back laughter. They never out and out laugh when it comes to Doughboy because they're used to his questions. They just sort of cover their faces and try be as quiet as they can. I tend to respect them for this tiny bit of kindness.

I decided it was pointless to try to explain to Doughboy that our school is in an older part of town, surrounded by subdivisions and shopping centers and the closest farm is quite a bit away. I simply reassured him that we would make sure that all the bulls were taken away and that he would be quite safe from them during field day. That seemed to placate him.

For now.

I may have to come up with some magical charm for him to wear to keep the bulls away. After all, this is a kid who wears a magical lanyard (with frogs on it) and a special key to keep the dead people out of his gym locker. (The Principal came up with the magic lanyard idea.)

Still, as messed up as this poor child is, he does touch your heart. According to Mrs. Language, he volunteered to read his journal today (a rare event) and answered the question "what are you looking forward to about going into the 8th grade?"

His response was that he didn't want to go to eighth grade. He wanted to stay with us in seventh grade because for the first time, he had teachers that loved him.

How could you not love this goofy little guy?


Mrs. T said...

I have my own Doughboy that I am rather fond of. This brought a tear to my eye and a smile to my face. You could tell him that the whole wearing red thing really is a myth, that bulls can't see color. The only reason they try to charge and gore bull fighters is because they are being teased. (Oh, and I guess because they are naturally agressive? That wouldn't help you out, though. Leave that part out.)

Karen said...

Awwww - that just makes my day! I love moments like that!