“How do you spell bunches?” he asked. I lifted my head from my pillow to see him situated quietly at my feet.
He twirled the end of the red magic marker in between the corner of his lips. His eyes darted around the room as if they were searching for inspiration – a seed to plant so words could grow and flourish into such a splendid tale that whoever stumbles upon this very first sentence in his book, would be immediately hooked.
Oh yes. My darling boy, he’s writing.
He began writing in a journal at night when school was particularly rough last year. His teacher was a real jerk and made him feel less than his peers and in an attempt to build his confidence up, we talked about the things that made him unique and wonderful.
What are the things you’re good at?
Now when I’m unwell those pesky, nagging, no good, terrible, stinky thoughts tell me I’m awful at everything so this was a challenge. Instead, we tried to focus on what things made him feel good in his day.
I thought that the things he found joy in were absolutely remarkable like being able to have the last bowl of cereal in the box because the powder is the best part.
The way our dog sneezes and follows him around the house.
How he has the same best friends since JK/SK, snacks, sunny days, hockey, and the friendly crossing guard who asks him about how tall he’s getting.
But it’s his stories though.
On parent teacher interview night, she showed us Chunky Monkey’s story about his Monster.
Hands down it was brilliant and I’m not saying that just because I’m his mom.
The story starts out with kids chasing this awful sound into the basement and finding bloody prints on the wall.
The kids vanished.
Their Papa was scared when he couldn’t find them and when he was lured into the basement by the same sound…
…the monster came out and ate him too.
Shawn and I almost flipped the teeny tiny table as we stood to give a standing ovation.
But his teacher was f***en mortified.
“This is disturbing,” she said, “He’s eight years old. He’s talking about blood. The other kids wrote about their monsters being cookie eaters and candy eaters and being way too smelly.”
Shawn and I looked around the room at the other children’s one lined robotic reading stories with their accompanied super cutesy illustrated rainbow-coloured-glitter-speckled monsters.
“I mean, we will talk to him.”
His teacher him re-write a different story – one that was “
very super stupid” very cute. You could tell by the angry pencil strokes that our son hated every word of it.
That night we told Chunky Monkey that we read his original monster piece. He immediately apologized for writing something “wrong”.
“Why are you sorry?! It was fantastic! Keep writing just like that.”
And he smirked, “Really?”
“Maybe a little less scary for your Catholic teacher.”
At home, we allow him to bleed his thoughts and feelings as words on the pages.
We encourage it.
Sometimes he reads them out loud to us or sometimes he tucks them far behind his dresser.
I love this side of him and not just because I write.
I love this because writing is a fantastic outlet for anyone and you don’t have to be good at it.
“Mom today I wrote about what made me happy and I liked that my socks didn’t bunch up in my shoes while I was at school.”
Then he climbed up to me, pulled my blanked back, and I shimmed over.
“When I grow up, I want to be a hockey player, a scientist, a teacher and I am going to write about my life. Are those good jobs Momma?”
“Those sound like wonderful things buddy. Will you still visit me when you’re old and super cool?”
“Yeeeessssss Mom! I’ll even buy you a coffee and a sprinkle donut.”
And dear teachers out there, if you have a child like mine who thinks out of the box, please don’t put the lid on their imagination.
These children are the dreamers, the movers and the shakers.
Be apart of something exciting and encourage these minds to grow and thrive .
Do your children write in journals or diaries?
Do you write in a journal?