When I picked my daughter up from the car rider line she had her regular happy-to-see-you-smile. She buckled up and started immediately into her animated rundown of the day's activities. We were about halfway home when she nonchalantly mentioned the hole in her pants. The intro to this little anecdote particularly caught my attention. "What do you mean you have a hole in your pants? You didn't this morning, did you?" I questioned.
I looked up in the rear view mirror to catch her glance. "Oh," she realized this part of her day would need further clarification. She went on to tell me that one of her neighbors at the blue table used his scissors and cut her pants, but not her. I remained calm, assuming it had been a random accident by a fumble-fingered child during craft time, perhaps she was trying to hold something on her lap as he used those little, blunt scissors the kindergartners are allowed to have. But she went on to give me specifics, such as it happened during snack time, and the boy had sneaked out (the now in my mind sharp) sheers when the teacher wasn't looking. Okay, the full inquisition was on. Who was this kid? A boy. Did your teacher see any of this? No. Did you report it? Yes. Do you know his parents? No. Is this juvenile delinquent mean to you every day? Sometimes. Does this guy have a criminal record? Most likely. Are you going to end up dating this dude in 10 years? Duh, of course. (So, I didn't ask all of those questions, but I knew the answers.)
Soon we were home from school, and she and her little brother shared an afternoon snack. As the kids munched on milk and Teddy Grahams, I could see that my forgiving daughter was long over the incident, but I was still seething from the vision I had of this little scoundrel with huge hedge clippers slashing my angelic darling's Gap capris.
I called my level-headed neighbor who also has a kindergartner at the school. What would she do? Why wasn't there a note in my daughter's backpack detailing the incident? Why had the teacher not called? After all, school had been out for five minutes! As I spoke, I tried to disguise my mama bear, protective growl. My friend told me to calm down (guess I wasn't hiding my feelings so well), then we discussed the many explanations of how this could have happened.
After talking at length about the situation with my husband (and a little more to my daughter before bedtime), I couldn't help wondering Is my daughter safe at kindergarten? Should I have home-schooled? What's wrong with kids these days? Am I teaching my children to be assertive? The questioning went on through my mind all evening.
Turns out, this boy did cut her pants, the teacher was not aware it happened (and profusely apologized and "dealt" with the him-who knows?), my daughter had mentioned that she had a hole in her pants but neglected to fully share how it happened. She was moved to the orange table which thrilled her since her newest friend sits there too (and "orange is prettier anyway"). I was so glad that I was relatively composed and well-rehearsed before I got the full explanation.
Then came the flashback to when I was a young teacher (long before I had been blessed with children of my own). I recalled a possibly-suppressed memory of the day a parent of a sweet seventh grader came into my classroom very calmly and asked, "Can you tell me how my daughter got a gluestick caught in her hair during social studies class yesterday?" Now I know just how lucky I am that she also had a merciful daughter, kind neighbor, and patient husband to talk to. Either that or she was just not fully in touch with her inner bear.