Me: Can you help me on the walk home? I need some leaves.
Hank: OH yes, and this weekend I need to collect some leaves for school, too.
Me: Perfect. This will be practice.
Hank: Why do you need leafs, mama?
Me: I’m drawing leaves at the moment.
Hank: Oh. I thought you were collecting a collection.
Me: Not at the moment. Are you collecting any collections?
Hank: Not at a moment, but I want to. Do you have any collections?
Me: When I was your age I would collect an orange and black caterpillar every year and name her Sally. I use to have a collection of Sock Monkeys, but I sold them along with everything else when we moved to Portugal. I have my grandmother’s collection of lençois (handkerchiefs). I like to collect sea glass when we go to the beach, but the sea glass never seems to make it home with me…
Hank: Maybe I will collect feathers. I love feathers.
Me: That is a great idea, but not that particular feather, please. That feather is very dirty. You should collect clean feathers. I will put a zip-lock bag in you backpack for your collecting.
Hank: You know, formigas (ants) use feathers as blankets when they sleep.
Hank: I need to write my name fancy like this (full cursive name) and I don’t remember how to write my name.
Me: Well, I can help you remember, if you’d like, or you can practice, because I saw you write your name only yesterday so I think with a little patience you will remember.
Hank: That was just my first name and I am not aloud to write my name that way anymore. I need to get a check. I wrote my name for my teacher and she gave me an x. Check means it is good. Check with a circle means that it is mais ou menos (more or less) and an x means mal (bad). I need a check. I like only checks. I cannot do this.
Me: Wow. That is a lot of stress you are putting on yourself. Writing your letters is hard and writing them fancy is even harder. T.P.C. (homework) is when you practice to become better. It may take some time to earn the check, but you can do it. You need to understand it takes work to get a check. Let’s sit down together and practice.
Hank: I cannot do it. I hate it.
Me: Just write your name for me and we will have a place to start.
Hank: I don’t know how anymore.
Me: Hank. Please try.
Hank: (whining and wiggling) OH! (mistake) See, I told you. I cannot do this. (pencil throwing)
Me: Let’s just start working on just H’s and then we will go from there.
Hank: But that is not what I teacher told us to do.
Me: (frustrated) We need a place to start buddy and you cannot start from CAN’T.
Hank: (yelling and crying) I have to do it the way my teacher told me.
Me: Then, please do.
Hank: I CAN’T. I don’t know how.
Me: Then, let me help you.
Hank: NO! (crying and ripping at his homework)
Me: Now, you are going to need to calm down. Go spend some time in your room.
Hank: NO! I HAVE TO DO MY HOMEWORK.
(After two sessions and an hour and a half of hysteria the homework is still not done.)