"Hey Alex*- how are you? " I inquire enthusiastically as he comes and pulls a chair opposite to mine.
"You remember me?" he asks - without looking surprised!
"Of course I do!" I add wondering if he remembers me.
He lookes like he remembers me, or may be he doesn't care to remember... or care to remember if he rememberes!
He has that same carelessness about him - but a tenderness masked in that carelessness.
He pulls a sheet from the pile that is stacked in front of me.. I try to help him get it without rummaging the stack. He shoots a look at me with his mouth pursed tightly and his eyebrows knotted and pulls the sheet with all his might. I let go in fear of tearing the sheet into two. He lets out a carefully concealed smile but quickly goes back to his grumpy expression.
I get lost in the things I need to finish at the table - and when I look in his direction I let out a little shriek...
"What are you trying to do?" I ask him without sounding too bossy! "This is not how you do it!"
He shoots back that same disdainful look at me. A look that I try not take personally. He pauses a couple of seconds and holds on to the craft work tightly.
" I want to do it my way!" he almost yells.
" Your way?" I question back helplessly. Looking at a supposed snowman - that looks like a pile of unclean dishes with food drying on them. The embellishments that need to go on the snowman are probably dumped into a pool of glue and scattered with the hand. The hat stuck to the center with some feathers that are soaked in Elmer's washable glue.
I give up. I cannot really win with this kid! He has a very strong mind of his very own.
"All done" he smiles and walks with careless aplomb to put it on the drying rack.
The Following day:
"Hey Alex! How are you this afternoon" I question like a hyper door to door salesperson.
He doesn't answer. He just looks back at me with a pouty mouth and knit eyebrows. I smile and he makes a silly face at me. I look to my sides to see if anyone noticed his making fun of me.
"Never mind!" I say aloud. " DO you want to come and make a penguin?"
He doesn't answer. He grabs the sheet and attempts to cut the outline.
I look away to help the other kids at the table.
By the time I look back he has what looks like a Halloween ghost cut-out in his hand, instead of the "rounded at the edges" rectangle.
"let me trim it for you" I offer.
"NO" he yells. "This is his hair" he say pointing to a horn like protrusion on the 'supposed to be penguin' craft work.
Then he glues the eyes to make it look like a couple of belly buttons stacked in the center of the stomach.
"My way" he pouts mischievously.
"Is this a monster you made here?" I ask in funny mockery.
"It is a penguin silly" he snaps back and glides to the drying rack.
The 'supposed to be penguin' leers through a row of actual penguins grabbing my attention just like this little guy does in a class full of cute toddlers.
"I want to do it my way" I over hear him saying.
He is a menace, but an original menace!
God bless creativity!