Today was not a stellar day in the life of my children. Relationally, this impacts me, their mother. Oh, I am sure it will pale in comparison to what lies ahead as we enter the wildly hormonal teenage years. However, in the life of elementary students, well, this ranks pretty low on the success rung for me, the mom.
This morning, it was all Lily. Three years of preschool and only a handful of days did she ever cry at leaving me. Now, in kindergarten, she cries every morning, asking, rather begging to stay with me. One of the deciding factors to send her on to 'big school' this year was that she has always loved school and has never exhibited separation anxiety. In fact, none of my children have had any bouts of such for more than a couple of days. Not only does this delay us in getting ready in the mornings, it frustrates me because I have no real idea how to handle it. She is fine in the classroom which makes me believe this is a power thing?? See? I have no idea.
Fastforward to pick-up time at the school. My first hit was when my eyes landed on Sadie's teacher. She promptly walked towards me and as her eyes flitted everywhere but into mine, I could tell that bad news was eminent.
"Sadie, had a bad day today. She had several warnings and went on yellow. We had two specials today and both teachers mentioned Sadie's behavior, too. She had a very hard time controlling herself today. I have moved the children around and I have partnered Sadie with a very quiet girl, so we will see if that helps."
As she finished talking, another teacher brought Sadie outside. I was a bit confused, because Sadie was supposed to be in the holding area and evidently this other teacher thought she wasn't supposed to be there. This other teacher announced quite loudly, "I found Sadie hanging out in the holding room." It made for a quite a confusing and slightly embarrassing moment as all other parental eyes seemed drawn toward my direction.
As I found out, Sadie had also taken it upon herself to help another student, who had a cast on his foot, down the elevator. Elevators are not allowed to be used by students unless instructed by the teacher. Sadie had not been instructed to do so. Yay to Sadie for being helpful, right? But, I know she only did it to ride the elevator.
Then, Lily came outside only to announce to me that she had had, "a very bad day, Mommy." Sigh. I tracked down her teacher only to be told that she had some trouble listening and focusing today. She acted very tired throughout the day.
Next comes Ethan. I barely glanced at his teacher, afraid of what might come next. I did get a nugget of encouragement in that the teacher said there was a, "bit of hope." This comment comes after last week's statement from the teacher, "I could stand for Ethan to be a bit more 'present' in the classroom." I thought that was a diplomatic way to state what really translates to: he needs to get his act together. As we walk away, one of Ethan's friends comes running after him carrying something in his hand. He shouts to my always forgetful son, "Ethan, you forgot your lunchbox!"
We traipse off to the car, all pretty dejected and low. As we left school to head to Ethan's guitar lessons, I tried to be positive. "Did you all get my notes in your lunch today?" Coincidently, they all said, "(Child's Name), you are the best! I love you! Mom,". No one clearly answered me, adding to my feelings of resignation.
While continuing on to our afternoon activities, Ethan decided to change into swim gear in the car before his guitar lesson. I emphasized to him to make sure he got everything back into his swim bag. Ethan responded with, "Oh, Mah-um." He scampered out the car door. Soon after, I picked him up from guitar and deposited him and Sadie at the pool for swim team.
Imagine my shock when I arrived to pick them up from swim team, Ethan announced to me, quite audibly I might add, that I forgot to pack his swim suit and he had to swim in his exercise shorts. Apologizing, I scurried to the car, only to check the back seat and find, viola! his swim shorts.
I announced that we were meeting my own father for dinner. Sadie collapsed in a heap because there was no brush to help her pool head. Ethan started to cry, yes cry, because he did not have dry underwear to put on. The thought of going commando sent him into a tailspin. But wait...he could don his still dry swim suit. Solution! And, my step mom might have a brush. Life could move on.
During dinner, Sadie fell asleep and Lily burped twice so loudly that patrons of the restaurant turned their heads in dismay. Lily could also not sit still which meant constantly kicking her nearest neighbor, me, with her feet. Upon arriving home, the car stayed parked halfway down the driveway as we have had our driveway resurfaced. Therefore it took three, long trips from the car to carry in all that accumulated in that day alone. Lily stumbled up the driveway, wearing only one shoe, carrying the other one as dejectedly as I felt.
As I walked to the car on the last trip, I picked up Ethan's underwear and a pair of his socks that had fallen out of his bag which laid quite pathetically on the wet driveway... oblivious to him, of course. In the laundry room, while unpacking swim bags, I pulled out a t-shirt from Ethan's swim bag. I held it up and showed it to him. I already knew the answer before I asked.
"I think that is Coach Rob's t-shirt. How did that get in my bag?" Seriously, Ethan? Seriously?
Tonight, I ask myself, "Can I hold this all together for an entire school year?" I really should get paid more for this job on days like today. I think this will definitely be the year of repetition -repetition in what comes out of my mouth. "Focus, Self-control, You are OK, FOCUS!" There has to be an easier way, right?