Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Dragon In The Toilet

My son saw a dragon in his school toilet. It was a green one, he said and he was genuinely distressed about it and tried to tell me a few times yesterday and today that the school was ‘closed’ so he didn’t have to go to school. Being the 'trusting' and 'wonderful' mother that I am, I nearly believed him and wanted to call the school to make sure – but I saw the wary look he gave me when I announced my intention to not take him to school after all and immediately saw through his fib.

I was quite disturbed by his behaviour. It’s been ages since he last ‘refused’ to go to school - he usually literally jumps up from bed in the mornings to go to school and one of the most potent weapons in my arsenal where he is concerned is to threaten him that I will not send him to school tomorrow (that is, besides the equally potent threat of reporting any naughty behaviour to his class teacher - how children look up to their teachers!).

And so I went with him to his school, and on the way made him repeat after me three times (with hopes that he will remember) the supplication (doa) muslims normally recite before entering the toilet. And when we reached his class, I made him go to the toilets with me, recited the doa with him just before stepping inside and asked him to show me where he saw the dragon – and he showed me.

Of course, it had to be the furthest toilet in the row of toilets. I looked inside and found myself dreading (only a little) to see something spooky in there but of course, no dragons would dare show their ugly faces when mommies and daddies and teachers were around. I then calmly told him to not bother going to the furthest one and just quickly do his thing in the nearest toilet when he needs to.

And that seemed to calm him. I settled him down to do some painting – put on his apron and helped him to mix the paints - before I take my leave and reassure him that I will come back for him at 3.20pm, after story time. But then he started to plead, in his normal way, with his head bent a little to the side, pulling at my heart strings, “don’t go mama, stay here with me,” and again I looked at him, a little bit more concerned.

Yes, my husband will tell you that I get very easily concerned and worried about anything and everything but that’s just me, what can I say! And so being me, I decided to inform his teacher, Miss Edwards, a tall and pretty black woman with a friendly smile, about the dragon. She showed concern, as all teachers should, when a student is distressed (he was nearly crying at the time – his mouth twitched downwards and the waterworks were ready to flow). I watched as she reassured him that she would be in class with Qamar, her teaching assistant, so he need not be afraid. She then took him by the hand and proceeded to go to the toilet with him, again, to fight that blasted dragon.

I watched them from where I was, while my 2 year old ran around in the class acting like he was the taiko of that class, enjoying the stares of all the other children. I hope he will overcome his fears. I hope the teacher will comfort him. I hope he will be ok. I’m sure there was never really a ‘dragon’ in the toilet, but if there was (anything at all), I wish it to hell and to stop bothering my kid.

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