And he was the king of the wild things.....(Let the wild rumpus begin..)

His name is Max, and he’s all boy.

He comes to school with his hat on backwards and smiling a devilish smile that will most certainly get him out of a lot of trouble in the future.  He stirs the pot without even lifting a finger...and has it down to a science.

I’ve had to move him away from almost every boy in the class while we are sitting on the carpet. He can’t keep his hands to himself; he hums, he picks, he laughs, he wrestles and he is always, always moving.

At recess he runs a hundred miles and hour. He starts with the football players, moves to the basketball court, the swings, the slides, the jungle gym and the crazy, puffy, springy things that the kids can jump across while the teacher watches scared to death.   Frankly, I’m exhausted each day just watching his level of activity.

But I found out something else interesting about Max.  

He loves bugs.  

And so do I.

He is fascinated by the metamorphosis occurring in our caterpillar aquarium, and has started spending an inordinate amount of time near our butterfly garden on the playground. We are having fascinating discussions about all the nature we spot while outside, and I am thrilled at his questions and enthusiasm.  He is still, however, the king of the wild things in my room.

And then today happened.

After lunch he was sitting at my feet as I sat in the rocking chair for our story.  He raised his hand.  “I made you a picture at lunch today, Mrs. Smythe.”

He stood, reached into his pocket and pulled out a wadded piece of paper.  He unwrapped it and handed me the most beautiful abstract picture.   I was speechless. 

“Thank you, Max!!!  Is your name on it? Oh, I see it.  Can you please put it carefully on my desk so I can put it up on wall?  I LOVE IT!  That was so thoughtful.”

He smiled as he ran back to the carpet to claim his spot up front. 

We headed out to recess after the story, and Max stayed behind with me.  He asked if I would go to the butterfly garden with him, and I went happily!  We pointed out billions of insects and such, and then headed to the swings.  We swung in the sun while pointing to all the various butterflies zig zagging their way across the playground.  We were joined by many others in the class, and it was incredible. 

We spent a bit more time bonding and laughing until I insisted he run over and join the football/soccer/wrestling extravaganza that was occurring on the field below.

I walked over to Miss Jones, one of the other fabulous first grade teachers, and had a sudden realization.

“Oh my Lord, I think I just had a date with Max." I said, laughing. 

“Date?  Naw.  You found a way to tame the wild thing.  And you know what? He is going to have the best year ever,” she said with a smile.

I looked out at the sea of wild things and realized that it was the other way around.   The other way around, indeed.


Anna Whiston-Donaldson said...

Love this! Hooray for you and for Max!

Utah L said...

Oh the Times you Both will have !

Brian Miller said...

ha...you tamer of wild things...way to go...i love the kids no one wants...the wild ones...

smalltownme said...

Oh yeah, I love that! I worked as an aide for 5 years and often had the best time with the more... (well, you know) ... challenging kids. And you swung? Swinged? Swang? That's a verb we don't see in past tense very often. But what a way to a kid's heart! That, and skipping down the hall!

Welcome to Jaak's Place said...

Beautiful :). I have many Max's in my class, they are a little older and instead of swings and bugs they've taught me how to play downball. It's the 'Max's' of the world which make it the most enjoyable of a place to be :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, Max is SO LUCKY to have you as his teacher!

I wish more of my son's teachers were like you. He's 19 and had many rough years in school. Very few took the time to find out what his interests & talents were.

Japolina said...

You are the best teacher!

noexcuses said...

Beautiful story! There is nothing like the feeling you get when you know that you have touched another's heart. What a wonderful year you are going to have!

B and the boys said...

So sweet! Not lonly because it is beautifully written, but because I have my own Max (named from the Sendak story) who has turned out to be the king of the wild things in his K room this year. I hope his teacher can find such a connection with him this year. Because under the wildness of each Max is a little boy who really just wants to be where someone loves him best.

Kathy at kissing the frog said...

LOVE! And what I love even more, as a former teacher and a mama to four interesting boys, is that there are still teachers like you who love their jobs and are able to see and appreciate the uniqueness in every child. My very unique son had a teacher last year who didn't understand him at all and expected him to fit into some kind of mold that he will never fill. This year is going a little better. Glad you are loving your new job!

SanH said...

I think Max has the best teacher in the world! You both will have a wonderful year of that I am sure.

pansies and sunflowers said...

The Max in every class is thee most fun! And often they need a teacher who appreciates them. :-)

Cathy said...

What an adorable story!Every Max should have such a wonderful teacher!

Courtney said...

I desperatly wish my "Max" would have had a first grade teacher like you. He thankfully does have a 2nd grade teacher who understands him.

Marissa said...

I want to move to wherever you are and have you teach my future kids...if they are anything like my husband, they will have more than their share of fidgety moments (I have found that and iPad2 tamed my adult Max)

Christina said...

Hooray for Max, he has just showed you that this is the right place for you right now. I know that you struggled with this move, but as you can see there was a plan. Max and the rest of the Wild Things in your class may roar their terrible roars and gnash their terrible teeth and roller their terrible eyes and show their terrible claws...They will eat you up-because they love you so!

Enjoy them this year it will be a great one for all of you!

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