The little boy didn’t go to school.
Today was the first day of third grade and my kid missed it.
I knew it would be difficult this morning, but I had no idea it would be as bad as it was.
I’m too fatigued to explain it very well.
Suffice it to say, there is no motivating my son to do something he just doesn’t want to do.
There is no reward, no punishment, no bargaining, nothing that would have made him go.
As long as he understood that school was my objective in getting him dressed and fed and out the door, he was dead weight on the couch.
He would not budge. I made a move closer and he lay even flatter and lower into the cushions.
Another step toward him and he slithered down onto the floor.
I raised my voice and he leaped to his feet in an arm flailing tantrum.
He whirled his body back and forth and started chucking his toys into the air.
I spoke softly, I ordered, I barked, I yelled. I sobbed and I ranted to the husband before he left for work. I lost my mind. What was left of it anyway.
And then I decided not to make him go.
Instead, I would take him with me to breakfast for Grandma’s birthday.
I called the school and left the message.
I sat on the couch and I explained to the boy how sad I was that he didn’t want to go.
I explained that his new teacher was sad and his friends would miss him.
He seemed to listen. He made eye contact and I’m certain he understood.
But he didn’t care and he didn’t move.
He didn’t move until I told him he could come with me to get pancakes with Grandma.
Then the child was up, dressed, and smiling by the door in five minutes. Five. And there were invisible helium balloons attached to his limbs and mood.
He would just so much rather be with me or his dad than with a teacher or an aide or other kids.
He would so much rather be in his own house with his own toys and have his own park nearby than go to school all day.
So, what to do?
I’m back to the never ending question in my head, should I home school him?
I still don’t think that’s the answer.
At least, not for me. I would go insane. Worse than now.
So, really, what do I do?
Another school! A better school. A more appropriate school.
Sounds good. And it’s the number one suggestion we get from everyone, but no one knows what it’s like to be in the car with our son.
He freaks out in traffic. FREAKS OUT.
He hates red lights. He tears the car to pieces when we stop for them – kicks the back of the front seat, throws whatever he can reach. It’s not good.
He can’t stand to go less than 30 miles per hour and he prefers 60.
It’s a miracle that we make it the two miles to the curent school. I can’t imagine what it would be like to drive a longer distance every morning.
A couple of weeks ago, he hit me on the side of the face with a hurled happy meal toy while we were stopped at a light. Not safe. Not fun. Not the stuff of tear-free parenting.
So, really, what do I do?
You know, partly I feel like I’m too dumb to home school him. I’m too foggy headed to teach him anything.
Isn’t that crazy? But it’s how I feel.
I’ve lost a lot of brain cells from sleep deprivation and stress. I don’t remember stuff I learned in school. How am I to teach it to him?
I’m also worried that he picks up on my own lack of regard for public education.
My parents were teachers. I spent many of the Saturdays in my youth drawing giant monsters on the chalkboard in my father’s classroom. I loved school. I respected the institution when I was little.
I still have immense respect for teachers and principals and the staff who show up to impart their wisdom.
But now, I’m convinced the world is going to end, so sitting in a square box all day seems like a waste of time to me. Does my kid pick up on that? Probably. I want him with me. Really, the same sentiment goes for the husband too. Square box, no. With me, yes. Together when the world ends. That’s what I want.
Ah geez, this is getting heavier than I intended. I’m tired. I’m rambling. More tomorrow.
P.S. Almost forgot to cherish the last moments in the parking lot after breakfast with the family…the little boy went around the circle and said “I love you” (with names attached) to every person there. Huge. Didn’t learn that from school.