Another First

So, less than 2 months in to 13 years of school, my daughter gets detention.

Possibly I’m being slightly melodramatic. Perhaps it was more a ‘talking to’ and a ‘time-out’. Regardless the vocabulary, it was not something I was expecting. Not with Kaya, my sweet, shy, listening one.

Yesterday, I run back into the classroom to retrieve Kaya’s left-behind gum boots when her teacher stops me saying we need to talk. That, as we all know, is never a good thing. Still, I only expect that it is going to be about Kaya needing to speak up more.

Not that she spoke up and in doing so, lied, leading to said time-out.

Liar, liar, pants on fire…

While the teacher tells me the story, my jaw drops and my mind reels. I’m pretty sure my face turns flushed and panic-stricken all while trying to play it cool.

My kid? In trouble?

The offense itself is not that bad. An earlier incident that I don’t fully understand about lying about library time and then, with her friend, lying about washing their hands after going to the bathroom. Busted by the teacher’s assistant!

The more dire situation for us is not the lying so much as Kaya’s inclination to follow along with whatever her friends say or do instead of speaking up for herself. Part of it is that she is just like her daddy in that she’s more than happy to ‘go with the flow’. She is easy-going and not bothered by needing to have her way. A good trait.

But then she needs to learn to stand on her own two feet too. She should have opinions and convictions. Be independent and confident.

Where is the line between easy-going and pushover? Agreeable and complaisant? Flexible and submissive?

The thing is, I know Kaya can speak up. It’s just a matter of comfort, and this Kindergarten stuff is still pretty new to her (to us!) In our neighborhood, there are some kids that do stuff we do not always approve of. Kaya knows this and several times over the summer I heard her taking a stand. Things like not going where she’s not allowed and not destroying trees. I was so proud of her in those moments because she didn’t just say “No, I’m not allowed.” she taught them why she wasn’t doing it. “No, it’s not safe” or “I love trees and don’t want to wreck nature.”

While talking with Kaya about the lying at school, I tell her that I was the same when I was young. That I was shy and didn’t often speak up for myself even when I wanted to but as I learned and grew, I got better and better at it. “Mom, were you scared to talk to people you didn’t know?”


“When it was the first day of school and I was scared to talk to lots of people, this girl (the co-liar friend) was on the bench with me and I wasn’t scared to talk to her like the others.”

My girls way of telling me she feels safe with this girl. Both of them sweet and shy and giggly, they bonded immediately. Bosom buddies if you will.

And as we continue our chat, Kaya informs me very clearly and without hesitation that they did not lie, they did wash their hands. Another mother dilemma then. Do I believe my kid or the teacher’s assistant? After probing a bit more (probing without being pushy- a delicate balance too…) it would seem Kaya put her hands under water, but no soap.

So my kid is not so much a liar as a cheater then. So much better…

Today, instead of working on ways to guide my girl, I’m just pissy at the World, the Universe, the great Creator of all things. Because why oh Brilliant one, do you have us learn and grow and just as we’re starting to figure out our own shit, we have kids and realize our shit becomes their shit and then we have to keep on working on our shit while also helping with our kids shit which is kinda our shit but not entirely, kind of a mix-bag o’ shit, making it all the more shit SHIT.

Thanks for that Oh Wise One. Thanks a shitload.


6 thoughts on “Another First

  1. I am a kindred kindergarten spirit – I am still shy talking to new people! I love how you handled this… and I wanted to tell you that I still remember my first detention. I think I may have had 3 in my entire life and the first one was in the first week Grade 1. We we learning all the rules and getting acquainted with how everything worked in the big classroom. I returned from lunch one day and learned I would be getting a detention. Someone had told on me for throwing a stick. I burned red and I was so humiliated. I knew I was not the detention getting kind of kid! I still feel my heart race. I think in my case I was also so angry and ashamed that someone had told on me… I also knew I didnt do anything wrong. And what was worse, I didn’t actually throw a stick. I had been holding a stick and was pretending it was a broom and playing house with some other girls and when I was done with the still i tossed it aside. I didn’t throw it AT anyone – but I still got a detention because I acknowledge that I did throw it. Adult me wonders who the hell bends down to the ground to place the stick? But… Kari… to this day, in any conversation about the news or current events, I always find myself standing up for the underdog, being concerned about what their side of the story is, wanting all the details and listening intently. And I can trace it all back to moment where I felt unjustly treated – unjustly punished. Kaya is an amazing child. And you are teaching her so much so well! Maybe the real lesson is that she has a friend to be “in this together” with her, and a mom that is going to support her no matter what. That a detention sucks, but her parents still love her. That is also excellent ground work for the years ahead.

    Oh, and on a side note, who the hell gives a *detention* when a kid doesn’t use soap?

    • To be fair to the teacher, it was more a time-out and it was not for not washing their hands but for lying about it! Yes, you touched on another thought percolating in my brain for another post. About lessons and leadership and building blocks for the woman she will become… Still all swirling in the brain but I’m sure it will come out in some coherent form at some point! Thanks for the share Michelle! Gave me a few more positive points to ponder 🙂

  2. Kari, thanks for the little laugh at the end, as always I love the way you look at a situation, real with a pinch of sarcasm to make us all laugh 🙂

  3. This is so great, so real and I so want to take you out for coffee and sit and talk about this kinda shit! I think this is where parenthood presents yet another steep learning curve, eh?

  4. This is so great, so real and I so want to take you out for coffee and sit and talk about this kinda shit! I think this is where parenthood presents yet another steep learning curve, eh? You are awesome!

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