Picture this…I was startled awake this morning at 7:30am and realized Boy was still asleep which is UNHEARD OF. I bolted out of bed and ran downstairs where I did NOT smell the coffee and I found Husband working in his office and I ran in there and said, “What is going on? What are you still doing here? Why is Boy still asleep? Why didn’t you wake me up? Please tell me there’s not another school delay or closing!” Classy, I know. Turns out, 7:30 is the new 6:30 so our internal clocks were messed up and Husband had an early conference call so he decided to take it from home. Not the perfect Monday morning I was envisioning.
Despite my panic and agitation, Husband was kind enough to make me some fresh coffee while I went to wake up Boy. Waking the kid up doesn’t usually result in anything good at all, but to my delight, he was ok, cheerful even. We only had an hour to get ready for school which typically is not anywhere near enough time for obvious reasons, but we did it and for the most part, it was seamless.
I dropped Boy off and by the time I got home, Girl was on her way out to Philly until tomorrow and Husband was gone too. Phew. Alone at last. I settled in to drink my coffee, breathe, and collect my marbles so I could get on with my day.
I cleaned the joint up, tackled the neverending pile of laundry, planned dinner, did some reading, and I took my first outdoor walk of the season which was absolutely heavenly. Brilliant warm sunshine, light wind, melting snow, singing birds, geese swimming in the water retention ponds, and even evidence of new life in the flower buds trying to sprout here and there. Oh, and lots of mud. I passed an older couple taking a leisurely walk with their little grandson, he looked to be about 3 years old, and they were chatting together about the wide world around them. It made me feel really happy, reminded me of my Dad with my kids. I felt almost normal when I got back from that walk. Almost. And also? I’m going to tell Husband again that we are out of here as soon as Boy finishes high school. As in we are heading South, at least for part of the year. I can’t take it up here anymore. The winters are too hard on me.
I went to my computer to check my email and found a note from Boy’s classroom teacher. Early afternoon. Couldn’t be good. She told me she needed me to talk with Boy after school because although he’d been in a great, cooperative, relatively hard-working place all morning, he lost it during reading, right before lunch/recess. He kept getting up during work time to distribute erasers to classmates for a game they had planned for recess. She told him repeatedly to knock it off and he didn’t. So she tried to confiscate the erasers. He clenched them tightly in his fist. She insisted. And then he looked straight at her and shoved them into his mouth and chewed them. I guess he thought she wouldn’t take them away if they’d been in his mouth. But he underestimated her. She stood her ground, held out her hand and he finally spit them out. He might have growled afterwards. I’m not sure. The kid is lucky he didn’t end up in the Principal’s office. And he’s lucky to have the teacher he has. I died laughing.
And then I got it together and wrote back to her, apologizing and telling her that of course I’d talk with him after school. I hit send and laughed some more. And then I wrote to our educational consultant/advocate to make sure I planned to handle it appropriately when I saw the kid later. I love our educational dude because the first thing he said in response to my email was that he wished there’d been a video of the whole thing, but he also advised me, which is what we pay him for.
Then, moments later, I got another email, this one from Boy’s media teacher. She informed me that when she went to pick him up for PARCC testing after lunch/recess, he was in the midst of staging a protest. He had made a NO PARCC sign, you know the ones with a circle around the word and a diagonal line drawn through it? Yeah, and he’d taped it to his shirt. He insisted on wearing it as he was marched down the hall to the testing room. And she let him. No wonder he loves her. I was laughing hysterically by then and was SO relieved to know that she thought it was hilarious too.
I love his spirit.
I tied up a few loose ends here at home and then I went to pick up Boy. I ALWAYS know when there have been little “bumps” during the school day, the kid can’t hide a thing from me. Plus, you know, his teachers emailed me. Ha. Anyway, he spilled the eraser incident as soon as we met at the bottom of the steps and we talked it through, why he did it – “Mom, you have no idea what it’s like, all the work, and we haven’t been outside in years, and I just couldn’t take it anymore, and my head felt like it was going to explode if I had to answer one more stupid reading question, and I just couldn’t wait for recess because they told us we were going outside today, and I was so excited!” – why it wasn’t ok, brainstorming about what he could do differently next time he was having a hard time staying on task. But mainly we talked about respect and the apology he owes his classroom teacher.
Then he told me about his PARCC protest, and I’m sorry, but by then I just couldn’t keep it together anymore. He asked what was so funny and I said, “I LOVE IT, THATS WHAT!” He looked a little confused and so I settled down to discuss that episode with him too. Basically I told him I totally dig that he’s exercising his right to “peacefully” protest, especially about those stupid tests, and I love that his media teacher “gets him”, but if he’s told to stop because he’s disrupting instruction or anything, I want him to listen and together we will find another way for him to express his opinions. He agreed – after making sure I knew the difference between voicing his opinion about the test and refusing to take the test – and then he told me he suspected that his media teacher isn’t the only one who thinks the tests are dumb because when he was busy making the signs (yes, multiple signs, which he distributed to friends), his classroom teacher didn’t stop him, she merely said that he couldn’t use school materials to make them. Which was no trouble, obviously, because the kid travels with his own supply of paper and pens/pencils at all times. We high-fived and drove home.
Our entire neighborhood of kids was outside after school playing in the melting snow mounds, the puddles, the mud. It was pretty great and none of the Moms gave a damn about how wet and filthy our kids were getting. We were collectively calling for Spring to COME. AND STAY.
After dinner tonight, Husband told Boy to look at my face as he asked me what I thought about him and Boy running up to Niagara Falls at the end of this month when I’m scheduled to visit a friend. I made sure my face lived up to Husband’s expectations and I reminded him that we agreed that Boy will NEVER go to Niagara Falls – especially without me – for the same reason I wouldn’t give my consent for a cruise until last April, and Boy goes, “Why? Because you’re scared I’ll jump in?”, and I said, “Yes, exactly”, and then I asked Husband why he couldn’t come up with safer, closer, cheaper places to take the kid, like…I don’t know, but NOT NIAGARA FALLS, Jesus. These people need to stop giving me material to blog about, seriously, because I can’t keep up.