Alex started "summer school" a couple weeks ago after a month long break, and when I picked him up yesterday afternoon, I stuck around to talk with his teacher for a bit about his progress. At one point she asked me whether anyone we know is in the habit of pinching Alex's cheeks, like maybe an old aunt or a granny who thinks that kids actually like to have their cheeks pinched. I said no and when I asked why, she said that Alex had pinched several children in the class on the face that day.
I thought about it for a second, and then it came to me - that wretched Thomas the Tank Engine movie starring Alec Baldwin.
You remember that movie, the one that should have gotten an award for being the Worst Movie Ever Filmed? Well, the bad guy in that movie is a train named Diesel 10, and Diesel 10 has a crane attached to his head that has little pincers on the end to pick up coal and...dirt...or whatever it is that diesel engines do with pincers...and since watching that stupid movie, Alex will form his fingers into little pincers and pretend to pinch people's faces. We have discouraged him from doing it, even though he only does it playfully, because we know that "pretend" pinching can lead to nothing good. And clearly, we were correct in that assumption.
So not only is that movie completely void of entertainment value, it is also encouraging children to commit violent acts against their peers. Like I needed another reason to hate it.
To be fair, though, Alex didn't need much encouragement to commit violent acts against his peers, considering that he also bit someone that same day (and no, none of the trains bite each other in that stupid movie...although someone probably ought to...) This is the first instance of Alex biting someone in a really long time, and his teacher is always very sweet to offer excuses for him, like by saying that he is the only kid in the class without siblings, so he is not used to sharing toys and such. She also said that, after he hurts someone, he is immediately apologetic about it and says he's sorry and gives them a hug.
She also said that he is a major ham at music time, and that he is generally very affectionate and loving towards his classmates (when he's not biting or pinching them, that is). She described a time when a little girl was crying because she missed her mommy, and Alex went over to her, on his own accord, and gave her a big hug and kisses to make her feel better.
Like I mentioned, we are having Alex's birthday party on Saturday. I don't actually know many of the kids in his class because most moms just drop their kids and run, then pick up their kids and run, and I really wanted to invite his classmates to his party so I could meet Alex's friends and their moms. I didn't have anyone's home address or email, so I had Alex's teachers drop these cards into the kids' bags so their moms would find them:
As a result, I've had several moms come up to me at pick-up time and say something like, "Oh, that's Alex?" And of course, I'm trying to decide how I'll respond when they tell me that their child came home with Alex's toothmarks in his arm. But instead, I had moms telling me that when they ask their child what they did at school, they always say that they played with their friend "Alex". Which tells me that a) Alex is a lot of fun, despite his occasional lapse in judgment, or b) the kids fear the wrath of Alex if they say anyone else's name. Oh well, he's popular, either way.