Tuesday, November 15, 2011

He had the first day jitters

We got a new student this week.

Occasionally, the behemothic system of educational placement rolls double turds, and a kid that has no business being with us, ends up here anyways.

Picture a young Latino, immaculately groomed, dabbed with an appropriate amount of cologne, well-dressed, slick cellphone in hand, a pack of Kools tucked away in his pocket.

He has less of a disability, and more of a criminal record, with a dash of trouble talking about his feelings.

We shall call him Julio, and we will lead this young man through his first day in our class.

In the rare moments that Julio paused in his texting, he witnessed:

Me, his only adult male role model in the class, making my Family Face and percussing Purple Girl's backfat, while she did an impromptu Cookie Monster rap:

Oh yes, I should explain Family Face.

I have noticed, much to my shame, that the four members of my family all make an unconscious and unbidden expression whenever we see something cute, or grab that cute thing and maybe bite it, or pound out a rhythm on any surface, or attempt to wrestle, dance, or lift weights.

The face consists of the top teeth bucking out and sinking deeply into the lower lips.

The skin of the face then pulls in sharply towards the overbite epicenter.  The more frantic or strenuous the labor, the more the Family Face intensifies.

It is not uncommon, in our home, for me to watch my children wrestle in a puppy-like pile on the floor, and look across the room to see my wife mirroring my expression.

It is as embarrassing as it is uncontrolled.

So after I regain composure, I introduce myself to Julio.

After that inauspicious debut, I get behind Julio and try to see the classroom as he would see it.

It is so strange.

Julio did not come back today.

I feel like I let him down somehow, but I can't pinpoint exactly when that letdown took place.


  1. Well... Julio didn't even try man.

  2. The hat poster. The hat poster is definitely what sent Julio over the edge. That, and your terrible grasp of the English language.

    love you like the last chocolate in the box of See's candy when I thought they were all gone and it was just empy wrappers--

  3. Oh, "AND"... that makes a lot of sense!

  4. feryx- that's what I'm sayin'! A little period on the seat never hurt anyone

    MOV-That hat poster is the most educational thing in this classroom. I used to love the last cigarette in a soft pack when you thought they were all gone, but one was just a little smooshed up in the corner and hiding there-would you say you loved me like that? Because that is a lot.

    Alan-that "AND" is very important, and much overlooked

  5. the "AND" totally got me, lol! and i agree with feryxlim--julio didn't try. lol.


  6. Maybe this was Julio's "scared straight" moment. You could have just done him a huge favor.

  7. All families have a Family Face, you know. I was worried that mine looked like yours just now (because no one ever looks in the mirror when the Family Face happens), but to my relief, after I followed your directions and mimicked you, I don't think it does.

  8. ronetta- glad you liked it, ronetta. We'll see if he returns...

    Haley- I did not even think of that, Haley! I am so much of a better educator than I ever even imagined I can

    Elizabeth- that is only a little reassuring, but would you say there is a scale of better to worse Family Faces? Is yours better than mine?

  9. gweenbrick, I do love you like that last cigarette smooshed in the corner of the pack, if I was a smoker. Just don't tell your wife though, because she is MUCH prettier than I am (now that I have seen the drawing of her) even with the "Family Face" she is still much much prettier. (Tell her I like her socks and I in fact have the same ones. I think I love your wife.)


  10. Hello Gweenbrick,

    Just read your blog from front to back and I like it very much. I'll be a regular visitor....but not to comment, I don't do that very much.

    hands up if you tried the Family Face.....yes, my hand is up.

  11. I'm pretty sure I do a slightly modified family face on a daily basis, such as when I see a cute thing, or when I want to inflict pain on something. It involves curling both top and bottom lips in and then biting down. This gives the look of clenched, no-lipped mouth. This look runs in the family as well.

  12. Could you please post a step by step video detailing how to make Family Face?

  13. MOV- my wife was laughing because I put men's socks on her without even thinking about it

    haveyouseen-I am so happy you liked it! You never have to comment, especially because my responses tend to suck...so you are sparing yourself some suck
    but you could send me a picture of any family face attempts

    supercrazyrobots- thats not good, either. Most bite-involved faces don't seem to fare too well

    erica-no way, no way in hell! I feel homely enough as it is; a public display of homeliness is the last thing my fragile dignity needs

  14. In my house we call Family Face "White Man Over-Bite." It's usually performed while dancing. And by "dancing" I mean performing an uncoordinated version of The Sprinkler or The Mashed Potato. We are that kind of cool, yo.

    Poor Julio... he was probably all, "You all are WHACK. I mean, texting on your calculator? WHACK." Him be scared straight, no doubt.

    It may or may not have been all the period blood.

  15. In our casa we don't have The Family Face, but we make up for it with two categories of Family Noises and Family Words.

  16. O my Freakin *** ! Period blood?! Inapropriate, and funny as heck! And yes, I caught myself trying out The Family Face.
    Who in their right (or wrong) mind made the decision to put Julio in your classroom?
    Thanks for the laugh!!

  17. I think Julio's expectations are far too high.

  18. killer cupcake- that is depressing-the Family Face might indeed be the same as the White Man Dancing Overbite. That makes it even "cooler"....I bet Julio was thinking many words worse than 'Wack'

    esboston-ok, let's hear some selections from the Family noises category, I am curious.

    Brenda-thats the system, man! They don't care where they put the kids, as long as the bodies are in their seats for Count Day. Gotta get that funding!

    Trisharella- to be fair to him, we did not exactly prep him for what was to come

  19. Let's see, noises, hmm, there's 'Grumpy', 'Happy', 'Sleepy', 'Sneezy' .. oh, wait, those SWat7D Dwarf names, well, they are sounds around our place, too. (I'm being nice, Sleepy is really Snorie) Cooper is the most prevalent generator of the Sneezy. Cooper is our dog, or rather, we are his people.

  20. I so needed that one today! I liked the '87 shirt.

  21. Depends on what you're measuring. We are a family of tooth grinders. Our face is "better" in that we tend not to scare people. However, unless all cute things are banned, we can look forward to slurping our meals through a straw later in life. Lesson: Don't judge.

  22. Very good. NB; Rainbow Lover sounds like a peculiar euphemism.

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