Friday, March 03, 2006

Mimilou, Childhood Felon

A post by Laura at 11D about her son's attempt to alter his own behavior chart at school (by writing in marks that he didn't earn) reminded me of a similar story from my own childhood.

Well, not exactly similar, but in the neighborhood. Kind of.

In second grade, I had the misfortune of having an especially nasty teacher. One of her requirements was that each child had to have his or her homework tablet signed by a parent each night. I suppose that this was to ensure that the student couldn't claim to have forgotten about homework that night.

I was a dutiful, rule-following student. I never forgot my homework, and always had my mother sign the tablet.

Until the night I forgot to have her sign the tablet.

I realized this at the bus stop the next morning. Panic completely washed over me, and I still remember the almost paralyzing fear of getting in trouble over this oversight. One of the older girls on the bus must have noticed my tears and offered to sign the tablet for me. I declined, opting instead for a much worse solution.

I forged my mother's signature myself. In BIG BLOCK 7-YEAR-OLD PRINTING.

Who I thought this would fool is unclear. But such was my fear of being reprimanded that I made the situation much worse.

When the teacher checked our homework tablets at school, she took one look at mine and hauled me to my feet. "Do you know you could go to JAIL for this?" she said. Well, no, that hadn't occurred to this particular 7-year-old.

At the end of the day I had to go to the principal's office, or so I had thought. It turns out that the teacher hadn't informed the principal about my offense, so I would up waiting outside her office until long after my bus had departed. Thus, on top of everything else I missed my bus and my mother had to come pick me up.

I needn't have worried about my mother's reaction to this -- she was completely understanding and thought my teacher overreacted (to this day, she still refers to that teacher as "that witch you had in second grade"). She wrote a note in my homework tablet acknowledging my wrongdoing and assuring the teacher that it wouldn't happen again.

It didn't, of course; I never got in trouble at school again.

But it's just amazing to me that my complete aversion to making waves and breaking the rules still exists. I suppose some things are never completely outgrown.