Some of you may remember the story I wrote in September about 'Jake' and the book that he is absolutely terrified of - A Bad Case of the Stripes. Basically he has a paralyzing fear of even SEEING this book. If you weren't a reader back then, or need to refresh your memory, just look here.
Today the worst possible thing happened. I had allowed my kids to go to free centers (I know, brave right?). I was working with a small group when all of the sudden I heard terrible screaming and looked up to see Em running toward me yelling "Something is wrong with 'Jake!!!' He is freaking out and I can't calm him down!!!"
So I sprung to my feet and ran to the library center, where I found him. He was curled up in a fetal position on a bean bag with an open paperback book in his hands. He had his face shoved into the book all the way into the spine of it and had it clamped tightly around his face. He was screaming, yelling, hyperventilating, and crying all at once. Of course I could not calm him down. It took me 2 minutes just to figure out the problem. He had seen the book. He wouldn't take the other book off of his face, either. I know him well enough to understand that, as long as he was in the same room with that book, he was not going to calm down.
I picked him up and carried him, paralyzed with fear, into the hall. I sat him down and he finally removed his face from the other book. He was panting, screaming, and crying so hard that I thought he was going to throw up. Finally he told me what happened:
"I saw the rainbow colors," he said, "and THEN I saw the S. The S that goes with the STRIPES!" He was afraid that someone was going to get it down and show it to him. I assurred him that this book was on the UPPER shelf, and that children were not allowed to touch those books, only grown ups. That's where the story gets even better.
In the most sincere (irrational, but still sincere) little voice ever, 'Jake' asked me the following question:
"But what if you make a machine? A machine that turns little kids into grown ups? And then two kids from our class jump in it when you're not looking and they pop out as grown ups? And then they grab that scary book and SHOW IT TO ME??? Oh I can't even think about it! It's too hard, it's just too hard!!!!!!!!"
Yes. A machine that turns little kids into grown ups. If I had such a machine, I would put him it to make him grow up and not be scared of BOOKS! Anyway, he had to sit in another room while I "removed the book from our classroom." When he believed me that the coast was clear, he came cautiously back in.
Tomorrow is our bog Thanksgiving feast day at school! All of the parents signed up to bring different foods and the kids have been working so hard to prepare some songs and an adorable play for them. It will be a crazy day, but one of my favorites all year long, no doubt. Kevin is joining us for our feast, so I'm excited about that, too.