Last week, I was on hall duty before school. One of my 6th grade students ran past me so I had to ask her to wait for the bell to ring before scurrying off to class. Without slowing her pace and keeping her head down, she informed me she was off to the bathroom. Being the expert that I am in spotting the irrational preteen hormonal pout, I decide to pick my battles. She is off to the bathroom and I resume my hall duty. A smaller girl came up and informed me that her friend ran to the bathroom crying because some 6th grade boys killed her pet! Oh no, I say. This is more serious than I thought. I ask what happened and who was involved, ready to turn this one right over to the Elementary School higher up powers that be. The younger girl explains the whole thing: These horrid, mean 6th grade boys laughed at her friend-- let's call her Maude-- because Maude was crying after they killed her pet. I am now beyond anxious that I need to spend the year with such awful, uncaring, murderous boys and that my own children go to school with these cruel delinquents. I ask, was it an accident? No, she assured me they meant to do it and then reminded me that they laughed afterwards. How did they do it? With her innocent, sincere, unblinking eyes staring straight into mine she tells me they poured salt on Maude's pet. Now I am looking at her like she is an alien creature from a far off galaxy. "Don't you know salt kills snails?" she asks.
'Maude' continued down in the irrational preteen hormonal dumps until lunch recess. When she was cheered up and more approachable, another teacher asked her why she had such a rough morning and she confirmed the whole story, adding, "They even threatened Gary!" Who's Gary? You got it, her other pet snail.
She can come hang out with my roses, gather herself a plethora of Gary's cousins and call herself a zoo keeper. Better yet, I think I'll invite the 6th grade boys over and tell them to bring their salt shakers.
Which just goes to prove my mother's Words to Live By #84: If you are going to have a whole bunch of something, better to have a bunch of boys than girls. Insulted by this wisdom in the past, Deb and I now whole heartily agree.