…you gave me no warning of what was to be (Mamas and Papas)
This morning, the sun was shining and I was up and out of the house in time to meet the principal at 7:45. My lunch was made and I was already to hop on my bike and ride to work as soon as the meeting was over.
Didn’t happen. M woke up in a bad mood. He ate his breakfast but wouldn’t take his pills. When I got back at 8:10, he still hadn’t taken his pills and now was refusing to go to school. I could have left my husband to deal with M himself, but that hardly seemed fair. This on a morning when I had a long list of things waiting for me at work.
Me: If you don’t want to go to school, you can come to work with me. But you’ll have to bring a book, no electronics.
M: I’m not going to school.
Me: I stayed home with you when you were sick last week. I can’t stay home today – I have too much to do.
M: There’s a big difference between can’t stay home and won’t.
Me: I won’t get paid if I don’t go to work.
M: So don’t get paid for today.
At this point, I decided that explaining the intricacies of my company’s HR policy to a cranky 10-year old was probably not a good use of my time.
As it turned out, M was upset about seeing his previous Educational Assistant last week. The EA had surgery recently and his recovery has taken longer than expected.. School Board hiring practices are incredibly complicated but since it is a temporary position, the Principal had to fill it. The EA will be coming into the school on a part-time basis; on those days, he’ll be with M. But they have been together since last spring, and M is emotionally attached to him. So while he was happy to see the EA last week, he was upset about not being with him this week.
Plus, this is the week of the senior choir performance. An annual event at M’s school, the senior choir show is a big deal. The kids practice for months, they have specially designed t-shirts and all the grades attend the event at a near by middle school. M’s teacher is one of the organizers, so everyone in the class is pretty hyped. Although the show is several days away, combined with his anxiety about his EA’s absence, M was overwhelmed.
Of course, we never find this out right away. We have to go through the dance – defiance and/or refusal to do what he’s asked to do, followed by yelling/door slamming/swearing, which dissolves into crying. Eventually, a parent will ask what’s wrong he’ll claim “nothing’s wrong,” and we’ll go back and forth a few time before he spills. There is usually another round of tears and drama before he’s calmed down.
I was not happy with M this morning, so my husband dealt him. By the time, he was settled down and willing to go to school, it was after 9 am. I abandoned any hope of riding my bike and getting to work on time.
It has been several months since we haven`t had to deal with a Monday morning melt-down. M seemed fine last night when he went to bed. Sometimes, inexplicably, we all wake up on the wrong side of the bed. This was certainly the case for M this am. Despite his rocky start, he had a relatively good day at both school and daycare. He was in a good mood tonight and didn`t kick up a fuss when his electronics time was over or when it was time for bed. Although M`s melt-downs are furious, they don`t to tend last very long and usually blow over relatively quickly. But like most storms, M leaves a trail of mayhem behind him. In this case, two bewildered and weary parents.
As hard as these types of mornings are on all of us, they are a good reminder that we have to check in with M regularly. This is especially important when there is a lot going on or when his routine is interrupted. When things are going well, as they have for the last number of weeks, we get a bit complacent and forget. Then we have mornings like today. Monday, Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way.