Friday, January 22, 2010

Shock and Awe 5th grade style

I write this with tears in my eyes and my heart breaking...and yet I can say God is good! The last few days here at home have been full of drama...the shock and awe kind...5th grade style.

I could see my daughter starting to spin out of control on Tuesday evening when she came down crying because Wednesday was report card day. She was starting to take an inventory of all the things she did not do over the past quarter and knew that it was going to be on paper for us to see. She was terrified of facing that truth. The tears started to flow, her stomach started to hurt, she was too sick to go to school in the morning...and on and on. She cried literally all night long. I still sent her to school. She called me at 11am to come pick her up. I did not. I told her she wouldn't die, that it was what it was, that she needed to face up to the truth take her punishment and move on. She cried. She cried so hard all day that when I picked her up her face was swollen, her eyes were blood shot, her head hurt.

At this point in the story, let me say that she is an all A and B student...mostly A's. Her report card was brilliant. Except. Except for the two places she was responsible for putting in time to read or practice. Those tasks that you can't save until the end, the stuff that needs to be done consistently day in and day out. The stuff you can't fix at the last minute no matter what. The tasks that will kill a procrastinator every time. I know these tasks because I have suffered from procrastination my whole life. It sucks, there is a lot of shame involved in knowing that you could have done something but that you choose not too and now you have to pay the piper.

So, she showed us her report card. She was told, "good job" and that in those two places she needed to improve. That her environment was going to be altered to set her up for success(I literally used those words); that she shouldn't blame any teacher for this problem yet she should own this and make it better. There wasn't any yelling, there wasn't any screaming, no one threw anything. And yet, she cried. She cried and she cried until her anxiety gave her such bad heart burn she talked me into letting her stay home from school. It was against my better judgment, but I caved none the less.

Throughout the course of the day she lied to my face three times. The first was a slight lie, the kind that you pull when you think that simple coincidence will be your friend and cover for you. The kind where you don't give up the truth right away, but hope that someone else in the room will explain away what happened so that you don't have to. The type of lie that makes a mom wonder, did she just pull a fast one on me?

The second lie was the kind the exaggeration kind. "How'd you do?" "Great!" is the reply. "Really?" "Well, I got a little bit done." "Really?" "Well, I just started." "You need to be more truthful with your answers..." was my response. But I was starting to get irked...something was telling me to take notice.

At that point, I turned on my computer and found a reply from the band teacher. It read, "Sure, I'll do that. Mr. Band Teacher" I was confused, I checked the date stamp, I checked the original message, I didn't understand and then, lightbulb, "OH, Crap!" The origninal message was: Chris(Mr. Band teacher's first name), My daughter practiced 300 minutes but forgot to turn in her practice sheets. Please change her grade to reflect this. Thanks, MY NAME

At this point in the day, I could have ripped someone's head off! I simply was dumbfounded by what was in front of me. I was shocked. Shock and Awe...reigning down on me 5th grade style.

Parenting these types of problems makes me sick to my stomach. I love my kids yet I want them to know that their actions have consequences and sometimes, I'm at a loss of what those consequences should be. I wish there was a manual about this, a troubleshooting guide for when things go wrong. But there is none.

In your room for the rest of the day, computer privileges taken away, TV taken away...but really don't know if these are consequence based punishments. I firmly believe that the punishment should fit the crime but those aren't always the easiest to come up with.

This morning I wrote her principal and her band teacher. I told them what has been going on and asked for their help. I asked for a detention. I know this is going to crush her...really, really hurt her. I'm sick. I know it's right but my heart is breaking...breaking for my beautiful little girl and the pain she is going to go through. It's not jail, she's not pregnant, she hasn't robbed a bank...and thank God!

I'm laughing at little because when I was toilet training her and was so ultra frustrated, older parents would say, "just wait." I'm so glad that I had that option. As I grow as a parent, so do the issues. I'm so thankful for that...that there is a learning curve. I know it could be worse...but for today this is about as bad as I can handle.

I know she will live. I know I will. But I don't like it.


Jen said...

Um, wow. 5th grade is a little young to be following in Aunt Jen's footsteps there, Em!

Good for you in calling the school and ratting her out. I totally would have done the same thing.

Mommy Brain said...

Thanks Jen...I needed to be reminded that we were all kids once...and haven't turned out so bad. Breathe. Now, I'm really looking forward to picking her up ...I think I need a drink! I know I need a drink!

Hall family said...

You did a great job!I homeschool and teach English for a program that has over 200 students.Too often I see moms covering for their kids! I think that often we as parents take it personally when our kids do something wrong; we see it as a reflection on ourselves.Hello!!! We ALL have the capacity to sin. No matter what age, or who our parents are.

amanda j said...

It had to have been hard to make that phone call, but GOOD FOR YOU! How have things been since then???

Melissa :) said...

My heart sunk as I read this post. This is all too familiar territory & I know this kind of behavior lie ahead in our future.

I too, almost always, recommend the discipline I would like to see Cade encounter @ school. No it's not easy. But necessary.

I too explain that life is a choice & the decision(s) is his. Gosh it hurts watching them fall though, heh?

Love your response to Jen. "Breathe". Oh so bad I need to do that too. :)

Melissa :) said...

Ha! Had forgotten I had written this! :)

Funny, I used the "fall" word in this comment to you, as well. I guess I find that word fitting! :)

Seems you & I face some of the same hurdles/obstacles. Seems we also seem to parent similar. I knew there was a reason I love you so much! :)

Thank you for your support. You are always encouraging & I appreciate it so much! xoxo

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