Upon arriving at the cafeteria yesterday, I found one of the kindergartners sitting at a table in the back, by herself. This is the little girl for whom I got the alarm clock. Now she was tearful and not eating much of her lunch except the pizza. I sat down, and said hello, then asked how she was doing.
“I want my mom,” she said through the tears.
“Are you having a bad day,” I asked. She nodded yes, sniffling. My assumption was that she was in trouble and that’s why she was at the back table. I would later learn that she had asked her teacher if she could sit back there, far from her class.
“We all have days like that. Yesterday I had a bit of a bad day.” Then I took out my phone, showed her the picture of our lunch from the previous day, and told her what had happened with the meal being spilled on my leg and foot. She giggled.
“Yeah, I smelled like barbecue pork for the rest of the day.”
“Did you know today is the 100th day of school and that you are now 100 days smarter?” She perked up a little more.
“I have a sticker for you that you can wear that says I’m 100 days smarter. Would you like one?” She nodded yes, so I got the sticker out and put it on her shirt. She smiled, still sniffling, and she said “thank you.”
“Are you going to be okay for the afternoon?”
“Yes,” she replied, smiling more and cleaning up her lunch detritus.
“I’m so glad. All of us have some hard days, but we can bounce back. You’ve done a good job bouncing back, so I have another sticker you can take with you.” I then gave her one of the very special Bounce Back Kid stickers that I rarely hand out. They are like gold. A bigger smile. And another “thank you.”
I talked to the noon-time aide to let her know the little girl was ready to go with the class. That’s when I learned that she wasn’t in trouble, she just wanted to have time by herself. The last time I saw her, she was skipping out the door, at the end of the line with the other kindergartners.