At dinner the other night, I glimpsed ink-penned words on Victoria’s forearm. As I imagined her writing her spelling words on her arm, or something equally deviant, I sharply asked what in the world she had written. Her explanation made perfect sense given the situation of the past couple of weeks…Victoria had been reporting to me that she received conduct marks for other people talking in class. Not for one second believing she was innocent, I would tell her each time that other people talking when they are not supposed to does not giver her the right to talk. “But Mommy, I’m telling them not to talk to me, and then I get in trouble!!” To which I would reply, “DO NOT TALK if you are not supposed to!!” So as she lifted her arm to show me this temporary tattoo, I saw for myself her attempt to heed the rules: she had written, “TALK TO THE ARM!”

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