A Fourth Grade Rap

Spring brings the school talent show, when kids get to show off their skills not usually celebrated in the classroom. It is always surprising and delightful. This year, our fourth grader was on a mission. First, he came home upset that he didn’t have someone with whom to perform. “Everyone is already doing something with someone!”

I emailed the teachers asking if anyone else was still available. Apparently, no one had yet signed up. Everyone was fair game.

The next day, he came home smiling, “I know what I’m doing for the talent show! A comedy show about how much school sucks.” Still smiling, but not a joke.

Train wreck coming!

So, with a cup of coffee in hand, I dashed off A Fourth Grade Rap just in case I could sway him.

Hmmmm. “Mom… it’s just… I guess some of it’s good.”

So after editing my work and adding a verse, he gave the okay to send it to a few of his friends’ moms in a recruitment effort. “Anyone up for doing a talent show rap?”

Two pair of cool shades, a backwards baseball cap, and two rehearsals later, we had ourselves a hit.

Fourth grade is cool. The kids are really funny.                                                                           But you gotta learn your skills if you want to make money.

Remember when Mr. B fell off the boat?                                                                                    The water was cold. He wished he had his coat.

Tuesdays rock if you go to Homework Club.                                                                               Ms. Grant gives out gum, and gets the big DUB.

We practice our fractions on IXL.                                                                                                   We copy eight words until we can spell.

Fourth grade is cool. The kids are really funny.                                                                           But you gotta learn your skills if you want to make money.

We know our state capitals, north to south.                                                                              And we’ve learned it’s bad to have a big mouth.

Did you find your fiftieth license plate?                                                                                Getting Puerto Rico was really great!

What did you make for our African feast?                                                                                Your Invention Convention idea was beast!

Fourth grade is cool. The kids are really funny.                                                                            But you gotta learn your skills if you want to make money.

We play Danish Rounders and Seven Up.                                                                                Guess what, mom, today my pin got moved up!

We read Ranger’s Apprentice, Holes, and The Cay,                                                                 Filled out our Reading Logs every day.

We have the best teachers in the U.S.                                                                                       We’re sorry recess was sometimes a mess.

The kids are really funny. Fourth grade is so cool.                                                                       We have the greatest grade in the whole school.

I mean, let’s get real. Which grade is better?                                                                              Just consider this our thank you letter.

Thank you soooo much Ms. Grant and Mister B.                                                                    Fourth grade has been an awesome year for me.

We hope fifth grade will be this super cool.                                                                            We’re almost ready to rule Lower School!

His Arm in a Sling

Yesterday, the name of my sons’ school flashed as the phone rang. Ugh. Images of vomit on his school supplies or his hands around someone’s throat at recess flashed in my head.

“Hellooooo?” Please say it’s vomit.

My fourth grader had apparently crashed into the fence during a football game and was claiming he broke his collarbone. (A potential copycat injury, as our friend broke his last weekend.)

“Jennifer, he’s sitting in the office with me right now, and we have ice on it.” Her voice was sing-songy as if to say “read between the lines, Mama.”

“Soooo, is this a come-get-him kind of broken collarbone or the kind that ice is making better?”

“Ohhh, I think the ice is doing a goooood job.”

I laughed. Ice is magical.

“But the teacher on recess duty is coming to confirm that he’s okay. How about I call you back after she checks out his shoulder?”

“I’m here if you need me.”

Then she whispered, “He’s very cute.”

Ten minutes later, the phone rang. “Now Jennifer, he thinks he can stay for Chess Club, but he doesn’t want you to be alarmed when you pick him up, because his arm is in a sling.”

What a player.

Two hours later, I picked him up from Chess Club. “Oh goodness! That must have really hurt!”

Dropped his friends at their house. And as I got back in the car to take him home, he pulled the sling off, big grin on his face as he waved his arm around.

“Phew,” he said. “I think it’s better.”


His Favorite Food

“Sesame Chicken and Indian food are tied for my favorite foods,” said the fourth grader. “But Sesame Chicken might win, because whenever I eat Indian food, I have to sit on the toilet for about 20 minutes.”


“But I love it anyway. I just don’t like it for lunch. Then I might miss a minute or two of recess stuck on the toilet. Which probably means I like Sesame Chicken best.”

Phew, A No-Drama Night

During the first week and a half of school, it seemed that my boys were running a relay of tantrums and meltdowns. As soon as one recovered from whatever angst he was experiencing, he passed the baton, and the next one took off.

“I have no friends in my classes!” He does.

“I don’t know why I am doing soccer! I hate soccer!” He has a blast.

“I am not doing Lego League!” This is his third year. He loves it, and more of his friends are doing it than ever before.

“I heard someone behind me in line say I was useless!” Unwilling to put a name to the voice.

“I only touched the ball once for all of recess! And it was a punt. It wasn’t even a good punt!” Can they please ban playground football?

Each of these and other statements spiraled down into two hours of tears, moping, glares, stomping feet or refusals to talk. And the fights that such moods triggered between them… Seriously?! Then yesterday, thank goodness, the world shifted back onto its usually peaceful, happy axis.

“I got a 100 on my math quiz!”

“I’m so bummed we don’t have soccer practice tomorrow. It’s the best part of the day!”

“I hope everyone’s going to be at Lego League.”

“Can I bring my red football for recess?”

“We finished our homework. If we go together, can we go Pokemon-ing until dinner?”

Transition back to school complete.

Quote from an Eight Year Old

We were talking about the complicated web of rules and social alliances an eight year old boy must negotiate to survive recess. He is frustrated with the inconsistency of friendships and where he falls in the order of teammates picked. He says he sometimes feels invisible.

I have found that the second through fourth grade years are tough on boys, as they become aware of athleticism, the cool factor, and “boy world” pecking order. I was advising him to choose a different game or friend on days when football brings him down. Recess is supposed to be fun.

He looked at me, deeply serious. Eyes big and teary. “But would you rather people were friends with you for who you really are, or who you want to be? I want them to pick me to be their friend because of who I already am.”

“I’m Sad,” He Said

He was supposed to be asleep. 10:30pm. Ski school in the morning after a busy week. His older brothers had been out for over an hour.

“Mom,” he said, dragging his tired little body into the dining room. “I’m sad.”

He is not one to hide his feelings.

So at 10:30, when he should have been sleeping, we snuggled into my bed and had a long talk. “Sometimes my friends are my friends. And sometimes they aren’t.”

With three boys, I have learned that such conversations always end up at recess football. Who did, or did not, pick him for their team that day.

“They are all your friends,” I said. “They love you.”

“But sometimes they are nice to me, and sometimes they aren’t. They act like I’m not their friend… like in football today…”

…as predicted.

“Well, is there anyone who you always trust to be nice no matter what?”

“Well…. Yes.”

“Then that’s who we need to invite over to play as soon as we can.”

He smiled and fell immediately to sleep.