On Wednesday, something happened that has never happened before in our preschool: a child cut himself with a pair of kid scissors.
Isak was having a ball cutting drinking straws with scissors. When I'd been with him earlier, he was experimenting with holding the straws over his head and snipping them suddenly in an effort to make the small bits fly as far as he could get them to go. He wore a look of ecstatic concentration as he sent those pieces flying.
It wasn't long after that I noticed Charlie L.'s mom Shelly huddled with Isak, who was kneeling on the floor. He had managed to cut a finger right at the base. Those scissors aren't sharp. It would have taken quite a forceful snap of the scissors to break the skin. He wasn't crying. Shelly said, "It's a small cut, but there's a lot of blood." We took him into the bathroom to wash it off. When I suggested a bandage, he said, firmly, "I don't want a bandaid." After giving him a couple other opportunities to accept a bandage, Shelly fashioned a crude one from a paper towel, just to staunch the strangely profuse bleeding. I suggested that maybe we could hold it on with some tape. He gave that idea a little thought, he likes tape, but decided against it.
He started crying once we got back into the classroom. When I later spoke with his mother Leslie, she reminded me of a particularly bad cut he'd suffered at home last year, and I learned more about the source of those tears, but even before then they seemed like they came from a place of both anxiety and relief.
Dennis' dad Terry took over from there. I found them on a bench near the snack table. When I arrived on the scene a few minutes later, Terry said, "We're in the Sad Room. This is where Isak is sad." Isak agreed, "This is the Sad Room."
I asked Isak, "Are you bleeding?"
Isak answered, sadly, looking at his finger, "No, I'm not bleeding any more."
"So this is the Sad Room."
"Yes, it's the Sad Room." This is really how Isak talks -- in full sentences.
"We should have a sign that says it's the Sad Room."
Terry said, "That's a good idea. We should have a sign."
Isak didn't express an opinion.
I found a piece of paper and a marker and wrote, A - K - M, while saying, "S - A - D."
Isak studied the letters for a minute. "That's not S - A - D. That's A - K - M." He decided he would have to make the sign.
I spelled out, "S - A - D . . . R - O - O - M." And Isak carefully made the sign employing those finely toned hand muscles, the ones that had so powerfully cut into his own flesh with a pair of dull scissors.
I held the tape dispenser for him as he tore off a piece and stuck the sign to the wall.
He sat on Terry's lap for awhile, occasionally checking out his sign, then went back to playing.