February 23, 2008

Mayor for the Day

Mr. T was Mayor on Friday for his field trip.

He got out his ‘Mayor’ clothes, blue sports coat and burgundy tie, button down shirt (blue), and khaki pants. He looked smart. We got his hair cut on Thursday in preparation.

He looked spiffy.

Unfortunately, however, his father was out of town and they didn’t leave his tie in ‘noose form’ last he took it off, so I was left that morning, scrambling to get everyone ready for school, pack lunches, get myself ready and… tying his tie and looking up how to on the internet was not something I had time to fool with. I knew how to tie one 15 years ago, but now? No.

So I told him when we got to school, we’d have the principal do it. He felt sure his teacher knew how.

We arrived, he went to his class, I walked into the office only to find the principal was out, but the secretary said SHE knew how to tie one. I figured Mr. T would find someone…

It turns out he hit up just about every Mom he knew on his floor and his teacher, nobody knowing how, making his way down to the principal’s office, only to find him not there, but the secretary offering to tie it for him.

She did.

He got back to class and I guess this story made its rounds through the adults at school and Coach heard about it. I didn’t even think about going to find Coach. I just knew the principal had five sons and for sure, he could tie a tie as if looking in the mirror.

Coach made his way upstairs to check his tie, telling him, “A girl doesn’t need to tie your tie. Let me check this…” and he fixed it and tightened it for him.

Now… some may find what he said sexist… but I don’t. The fact remains, there are some things that can be learned from a woman, but are best learned from a man. Emulation. I know Coach… and the fact he took the time to FIND my son and check his tie… I personally find it touching.

I am thankful for both the secretary, who I know well and adore, and the Coach… she for helping my son and he for being the man that needed to stand in and make sure it was squared away.

I will be making a point of finding both of them this week and expressing my gratitude.

My husband came home from his trip and immediately started to teach him how to tie a tie.

And so I chaperoned and assisted in the bank while my son played Mayor to this small town. This Biz Town is put on by Junior Achievement. The children interviewed for jobs, they spent 6 weeks studying how to write a check, fill out a check book, and how to run their small businesses. When they arrived, they went to their assigned locations, made deposits, ran businesses, and spent money.

The bank is crazy busy, writing loans to the businesses, keeping up on who hasn’t paid their loan and calling the CFOs of each delinquent business telling them to come pay, making deposits for the kids into their ‘personal checking accounts’, etc.

This is the 2nd time I’ve helped in the bank. The first time, when Ringo went, I thought it was a fluke. Now I know it’s because I’m the school Treasurer. Heh.

On a side note….

I never tell my children they aren’t capable of something.

My middle son was born with something called an apraxia of speech. (I am realizing I’ve not ever really blogged on his apraxia.) We recognized something was wrong at 18 months old when he was not only not babbling, but had developed his own sign language to communicate. We spent a lot of money and had him in all sorts of government speech programs. At age four, there was a breakthrough and he somehow overcame it.

He had a mild form, obviously.

His speech, until last year, has always sounded a bit different than other children’s. He has been more monotone, speech development was slow for him… the baby sound of his speech didn’t change until sometime in 3rd grade, and he has had struggles reading. Whereas the normal children, new speech patterns develop normally, with him, it was never that way. Even in 1st grade, he still sounded like a four year old.

His teachers in 1st through 3rd grade kept an eye on it, without my ever having to tell them there was an issue, it was that noticeable, and had him evaluated every year. He was always within the normal range... if not the low end.

He doesn’t like reading as it’s a lot of work for him. It makes me sad, but I have hope he’ll come around.

When he was smaller, I would say to people who inquired how he was, “He’ll be fine. He’s just never going to be my orator” and I’d laugh.

Never have I said that to him. Anything he wants to do, I support him. I refuse to hear, “I can’t do that.” My answer is, “If you work hard enough and you want it… yes you can.”

So imagine how my heart felt when I saw my son, stand up in front of 60 kids and give two speeches. He had inflection in his voice, he was expressive, and I thought I’d cry.

The little boy who I used to call Marcel Marceau, my mute, was giving speeches and people enjoyed it. He was GOOD!

And he is funny and can laugh at himself. During the last speech, it was a canned speech provided by Biz Town, it read, “and to the volunteers today we should give them a round of applause.”


That is not what he saw when he read it. Specifically he did not see the word applause.

And as he stood before his classmates, in tie and starched shirt and sports coat, looking so very spiffy, he asked them all to give us a round of…

… apple sauce.

He stood there for a minute as he realized something wasn’t right. He went back to the word and stammered…

His classmates and the parents starting to laugh, he turned pink and shouted, “Applause! We should give them a round of applause!”

Ahhh, but it was too late. We were already laughing so hard we were crying, one of the mothers hugging him and laughing with him as he laughed at himself.

It was hysterical and he was so good humored about it. He still shakes his head and laughs when he talks about it. It was endearing and his classmates have always been good to him.

Immediately the man who runs Biz Town looked at the mother/volunteer who was running the media center, taping the speeches, and said, “Did you get that?” to which the answer was yes.

His apple sauce has been immortalized.

It was a fun and funny day. What an absolutely GREAT experience for all our children.


And I’m so proud of my little orator… the child I never thought I’d see do any public speaking. The child who at age 18 months had developed his own little sign language. He spoke in public… did well… and enjoyed it.

Posted by Boudicca at February 23, 2008 10:15 PM | TrackBack

..... good for him...... what an absolutely beautiful post...... and a beautiful memory....... congratulations to both of you.....

Posted by: Eric at February 23, 2008 10:31 PM

That is *so* sweet! Wonderful stories about both boys! :)

Posted by: pam at February 24, 2008 11:07 AM

How wonderful! It's because he's been encouraged and supported by his parents and educators that he can achieve what he did. So 'applesauce' to you, too!

Posted by: Mrs. Who at February 24, 2008 04:13 PM

How wonderful for him! It's because he's been encouraged and supported by his parents and educators that he can achieve what he did. So 'applesauce' to you, too!

Posted by: Mrs. Who at February 24, 2008 04:14 PM

I'll teach tha lad ta order a round of brewskis for everyone.

Posted by: Angus of Islay at February 24, 2008 09:28 PM

Even as I laugh about the applesauce I have tears on my cheeks. What a proud day!

Posted by: Jody at February 24, 2008 10:12 PM

That is a great story! And now I am hungry for applesauce...

Posted by: Peggy U at February 25, 2008 02:26 AM

Tears came, and went...twice. Thanks Bou, but most of all, thanks Mr. T for your patient diligence in overcoming, it is inspiring to us all.

Posted by: Jay- the friendly neighborhood piper at February 25, 2008 08:28 AM

Yay Mr. T! A round of apple sauce on me.

Posted by: wRitErsbLock at February 25, 2008 08:30 AM

Wonderful post. Just wonderful... : )

Posted by: Richmond at February 25, 2008 12:29 PM

Fantastic! Good for the little man for having the courage to laugh at himself. Kids can be so cruel, it's nice to know that it isn't like that all the time.

Posted by: Kris, in New England at February 25, 2008 04:21 PM

My father taught me to to tie a tie at a young age. His words to me, "You won't be a man until you can tie a proper Windsor."

Posted by: Contagion at February 25, 2008 07:08 PM

I see I'm not the only one who immediately thinks of applesauce when I see the word "applause". Except I probably would have spontaneously combusted in that situation (I hate public speaking). Good for him that he was able to make it through the moment without losing his composure.

I too have had to teach some boys how to tie ties, but it's always harder to teach the technique as opposed to doing your own. My fingers automatically can do the deed for myself, but when helping someone else my fingers are clueless, unless I can stand behind the kid and reach around to tie it. Have similar problems when teaching Scouts to tie knots.

Posted by: diamond dave at February 25, 2008 07:31 PM