Tuesday, December 16, 2008

December Challenge Day 16

I’ve had a really weird day. I woke up in a surprisingly fantastic mood following a night of restless sleep. I’m not sure why I didn’t sleep well. The boys and I had a great morning. There were few spills at breakfast. No tears while getting dressed and getting off to school.

I should back up about 13 hours before I woke up…

Everyone knows we’ve been having behavioral issues with Adrian at school. These past two weeks have been horrible. We had worked out an “improvement plan” with his teacher, wherein she was supposed to fill out a daily calendar and send it home every night so we could see exactly where it was he was falling down on his behavior. Jed had ANOTHER parent/teacher conference with her this past Friday, and I guess since she had met with him she decided it wasn’t worth sending a daily report home. According to Adrian he had a “good day” on Friday. When I dropped him off at school yesterday she said he, in fact, hadn’t had a good Friday. When I picked him up yesterday he again, was missing his daily report. His after school peeps reported he had a fantastic afternoon and was very well behaved. Since his folder wasn’t in his backpack I asked him how his day was. He said it was “good” and that he “listened to his teacher”. I took him at his word, and we had a great evening. We went to the store and bought a gingerbread men(s) kit to take to his class for a fun project and ordered a tray of sammiches for his holiday party tomorrow afternoon. We had a great night.

So back to this morning…

As I said, I was in a surprisingly good mood when I woke up this morning. I took him to school and went in with the gingerbread kit. When I got to the classroom I handed it to her and mentioned how I saw it and thought it’d be fun for the class. I also mentioned how I had ordered the sammiches for the party and she said, “Oh thank you so much. Not many parents signed up for stuff and I was worried. I really appreciate it…” and in the same breath, without skipping a beat, she dropped her chin to her chest and her eyes to the ground and said, “Did Jed get my message about yesterday”? And I was clueless, but knew that I was fixing to get the wind full on blasted out of my sails. I told her I didn’t think so because he hadn’t said anything to me about a phone call from her. And then she went into a tirade about what a complete and total shit Adrian was yesterday. I swear to god I went from 70 to 0 in 1.7 seconds. She also told me that she had to send him to the principal, who then sent him to the counselor, who decided it would be best for both of us to come in again to talk to the teacher, the principal, AND the counselor. I looked at Adrian and said, “You told me you had a good day yesterday”. And he just looked like he was going to cry. And so I told him to not worry about it, we’d discuss it later. I told him to have a good day and to try as hard as he could to be a good boy today.

So I was ten-shades of pissed for getting bamboozled while in my good mood. While I take responsibility for my son’s behavior, I was mostly angry that if she was having issues with my child that she needed to follow through with HER responsibilities and commitments. Why the fuck didn’t she send a note home with her “issues”? I steamed for a better part of the day. I can’t tell you what being told what a horrible child your son is EVERY SINGLE DAY does to you. I get filled with anxiety EVERY SINGLE DAY that I have to take him to and pick him up from school. I can’t stand to walk in that building any more. I can’t stand forcing him to go into a place I know he CLEARLY isn’t enjoying.

So I picked him up this afternoon, hole in my stomach, filled with anxiety. I got him from extend-a-care and Mr. Hottie Bobby came up and said that Adrian had a FANTASTIC afternoon; he was really well behaved; and he was just a joy to be around today. I grabbed Adrian’s backpack and I’ll be fucked to ever loving tears if his mother fucking notebook wasn’t in there again today. So I asked Bobby if he knew how his morning was and Bobby said his teacher didn’t mention anything about it. She, of course, leaves at fucking 2 o’clock every day, so there’s no fucking chance for me to talk to her about whether or not he behaved today. I asked Adrian how his day was and he, as always, says it was “good” and that he listened to his teacher. And, as usual, I have to take him at his word.

To say I was livid when I got home is an understatement. I am so angry with his teacher right now. One would think that in this time when WE are supposed to be getting HIS behavior in check that SHE would take the fucking ONE MINUTE A DAY to fill out his fucking calendar with a SYMBOL representative of how his hours went. It’s not rocket science the routine we’ve come up with. It’s a fucking calendar with ONE HOUR TIME BLOCKS through a regular day and she either puts a “STAR” for “excellent behavior”; a “SMILEY” for “pretty good behavior, minimal redirection needed”; a “STERN FACE” for “not to good, but not horrible. Needed lots of redirection”; or a “FROWN FACE” for “I wanted to kill him”. IT’S NOT FUCKING ROCKET SCIENCE. WHY IS IT SO FUCKING DIFFICULT TO MAKE SURE IT COMES HOME EACH DAY?

The negative side to this frustration is it (I KNOW THIS IS WHERE I FAIL AS A PARENT AND A PARTNER) makes me take it out on MY FAMILY. When Jed got home I was angry, and loud talking about my frustration. And while it isn’t directed AT HIM, it comes off as me attacking him. And regardless of what the boys do I find myself being hypersensitive to their behavior and overreacting for the most ridiculous of tiny offenses. PERFECT EXAMPLE: I asked Adrian to sit in a chair and watch Suess’s “Grinch” when we got home. After the third time of him getting up and walking around I flew off the proverbial handle and put him in his pajamas and told him to go to bed…AT FIVE FORTY FIVE IN THE EVENING. I KNOW my reaction wasn’t rational. But I don’t know how else to get him to “listen” to his teacher…or me.

The thing is, I don’t have a problem with Adrian and his behavior. BOBBY doesn’t have a problem with Adrian and his behavior. NOBODY has a problem with Adrian and his behavior EXCEPT FOR HIS TEACHER. She’s THE ONLY person who can’t connect with him and get him to “perform” for her. And I don’t know where the disconnect is. This whole school experience has turned me into a monster and I don’t know what to do about it. So Adrian is in his room in his pajamas in his bed crying…and I’m in the kitchen feeling like a shitty parent.

I don’t want to “out kid” the kids. I WANT them to enjoy the best parts of their lives…their childhood. I don’t want my child to respect me because he fears me, I want my child to respect me because I’VE EARNED HIS RESPECT. I failed my son as a parent today. Today I don’t feel like I’ve earned anything except for a hot steamy pile of shit in my mouth.

Eventually I had Jed play “good cop” and go get Adrian out of his bed. We had a wonderful family dinner. And I tried to refocus and end the day on a positive note. After dinner, Adrian and I…

Made a Gingerbread House…and reconnected…and made the best out an incredibly shitty day.



RambleRedhead said...

Wow I eagerly read every post you have and I am so amazed by your honesty and how you put it all out there for us to read. You don't hold anything back and let it all out and I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.

I can read it in your words how strongly you feel about your boys and it is sad that the teacher is not doing her share to help you - I hope the meeting that will be coming up you will hold her accountable as she holds you accoutable as well.

Life is not easy and with work, going to school, raising two kids you have alot on your plate. As I have a couple I know that have three kids - you need to not only be there for the kids but also for your partner and for yourself as well. I hope you have that time where you can relax even if it is for a hour a day to unwind and relax.

Hang in there!



Nessa said...

My darling Freddy,

I can't give any advice or words of wisdom as I don't have children and have a hard time getting Derek to behave. Not like you put your post up for advice anyway, but if you get to where you need to blow up out of frustration or whatever, you have my number.

[LaLa] Lauren said...

Allow me to be Dr. Phil for a moment...My parents are very high strung and would often get annoyed easily at the little things I did. They would shout and over react. But later on, if they really believed they over reacted, we would sit and have a talk about it and be open and honest. And though I was very young and didn't really understand why all that was happening then, it made me a stronger person now. Hang in there. Just remember that everything you do or say for your children makes an impact on their lives. But from what you've written in your blog, you seem like a pretty awesome dad and anyone would be lucky to be your kid.