Ryan, my five year old grandson was a very smart little boy. He stayed inside the lines when coloring a picture. He was one of the top students in his kindergarten class. He just couldn’t get the hang of tying his shoes. He walked at 10 months old. When he was one years old, people were amazed by his vocabulary. Why is it so hard for him to learn how to tie his shoes, I wondered, as I tried to show him how it’s done? I looked up and immediately realized his mind was someplace else.
“Ryan, are you paying attention?”
“What did you just learn about tying your shoes?”
“You said to loop something and take it under something else.”
“Okay, Ryan, we’ll try this again tomorrow. I have to get you off to day care.”
“Grandma, I told my mom that I never want to go back to day care.”
“But, why, you’ve always liked going to day care.”
“Not any more. I hate day care and I don’t won’t to go back. You can’t make me; I won’t get out of the car.”
“Okay, Ryan, let’s talk about this.”
So, Ryan and I sat down to discuss why he didn’t want to return to day care and why the sudden change. He always loved day care like Teddy Kids Kinderdagverblijf.
I explained to Ryan that if he could give me a really good reason; that I would not take him to day care. I would call his mom and tell her that he is with me for the day.
Ryan proceeded to tell me a story about this second grader; a new comer to his day care. He only referred to this kid as a second grader. I asked did this second grader have a name. Ryan said I don’t know; it’s just a second grader that always bothers me and bosses me around. I asked what the second grader does.
Ryan quickly answered, ” Everything, that second grader stands over me while I’m doing my home work or playing a game.”
“And grandma”, he added that second grader leans on my shoulder and pulls my hair and plays with my curls. That’s why I told mom to cut my hair short, short, short.”
“Did you ask the second grader not to lean on your shoulder or bother you?”
“Grandma that kid don’t listen to me”
Ryan went on to tell me that when they go out to play he tries to hide from the second grader, but, that second grader always finds him. He said one day he walked really fast in front of all the kids. Ryan said he found a safe spot and dropped down. Ryan said he was so tired because he was walking so fast, he was almost running.
He added, “Grandma, a voice said hello, Ryan.”
Ryan said he looked around and there was that second grader.
He added “everywhere I go that second grader is there bothering me.
Now can I stay with you?”
“Did you talk to the grown ups at day care about the second grader?”
“No, because, they always see that kid bothering me, they don’t do nothing.”
“Have you talked to your mom about the second grader?”
“Yeah, but she didn’t do nothing;”
” Ryan, why don’t I talk to the grown ups at your day care and tell them how you feel about this second grader”
“Okay, but after you talk to them, don’t make me go back to day care.”
It was now too late to take Ryan to day care. He only spent one hour in day care before school. In the mornings, they walked the kids across the field to school and picked them up after school and took them back to day care. I explained to Ryan that I would be taking him directly to school; but after school the day care people would pick him up. And as soon as I got back from my doctor’s appointment; I would be there to talk to the staff and pick him up early. Ryan, did tell me that the kid didn’t go to his school.
Ryan would only refer to this child as the second grader or kid. So I asked, again, if he could tell me the name of the second grader. Again, he said it’s just a second grader. I realized I was not going to get a name out of Ryan. So, I walked him to school. I thought it was strange that his mother or the adults who worked at the day care didn’t look into this, or at least kept the two apart.
After my annual doctor’s appointment; I went directly to the day care, I promised Ryan that I would be there as soon as I could, after three o’clock. Ryan knew how to tell time, so you didn’t keep him waiting when you promised to be there early.
As soon as I walked through the day care door, I saw Ryan sitting at the table with an open book. He didn’t seem to be reading. He had this boring look on his face. There was the second grader he complained about, leaning on his shoulders and playing with the curls on top of his head. He had never been so happy to see me. He looked up and happily exclaimed, “Grandma!” He got up and started walking toward the cupboards to get his belongings. The second grader rushed ahead of him and got Ryan’s backpack and handed it to him.
The second grader was a pretty little girl with beautiful light brown, curly, hair. Ryan asked me to tie his shoes, the cute little girl rushed over to Ryan and tied his shoes while he looked bored and rolled his big eyes around.
The cute, little, girl looked at me with a beautiful smile and said hello, Ryan’s grandma, I’m Ryan’s best friend.
On the way home Ryan said grandma, you didn’t talk to the people about that second grader. I said, that’s because I wanted to talk to you first. I explained to Ryan that the second grader just wanted to be his friend. I told him that I bet if he stopped ignoring her and tried being her friend that she probably won’t bother him as much. I explained to Ryan that this little girl was trying to get his attention because she wanted to be friends.
I said,” I’ll bet if you stopped ignoring her and be a little friendly, she wouldn’t be such a pest.” I told him it would be a good start to learn her name.
Ryan, reluctantly, agreed to give it a try for three days. But he said , “grandma, she has to play with my toys”, Ryan said “I’m not playing with any dolls; that second grader asked me to play dolls with her.” I said, okay, “Tell her you don’t like dolls. Maybe, you can find a game boys and girls like to play.”
I didn’t have to baby sit Ryan for a couple of weeks. My daughter told me that he was doing better at day care. One day she was late getting home from work. I had to pick Ryan up from day care. I heard his laughter as I walked through the door. Ryan and the little girl he always referred to as a second was sitting side by side at the table laughing and playing. He did tell me her name, but, I forgot it. That was three years ago Ryan is now eight years old.