Monday, September 17, 2012

I Forgot How Back to School Works in My House

Whew!  Back to school and so glad to have some kind of routine again!  Everybody seems to have settled in to new classes and schedules and both boys are glad to get back to the business of making new friends while they whine about learning new stuff.
I have to say, I was surprised that I was caught off guard by Little Man's annual first day of school meltdown this year.  None of his friends OR their parents OR his teachers ever believe me when I say the kid can throw a major fit because he is "such a good kid!"  Well, he IS a good kid, but when he decides he has a problem, let me just tell you he verbalizes it loudly and incessantly. 
The issue this year is the same issue we have every year, which is that he needs to know that the teacher he has is going to take the time to get to know him on a very personal level.  He needs to bond.  And he really despises a classroom that seems too structured.  He needs to know he has some wiggle room to be himself.  The weird thing about that is, he really doesn't do anything that would go against any kind of structure in the classroom.  He just needs to know that if he wanted to be a little talkative or wiggly at his desk, he could.  And he gets himself ALL WOUND UP until he figures out how to function inside the sytem of his new classroom, EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. 
I know, I KNOW!  Another crappy phone pic.  Can't afford a new camera!
I guess the fact that he was excited for school to start this year made me think he was past the First Day Freakout.  WRONG!  That evening at bedtime, after an afternoon of "school was fine" conversation, the tears started rolling and the declarations that he would not go back to school if he couldn't have a different teacher were loudly and angrily proclaimed over and over again.  "Mom.  The teacher spent all day just telling us the rules.  There are so many rules.  We just talked about rules! You have to talk to the principal and get me out of his class!" 
He was amazingly unhappy with my response, which was that I would not remove him from the class at this point because "YOU BARELY MET THE GUY!  And you were only in his class for half a day!  Three hours is NOT enough time for you to make an assessment about whether he is evil or poopy or hates corn or throws tape balls at kids who misbehave!  (I did NOT tell him that I sometimes make assessments about people in 3 minutes, especially customers who call in with ridiculous questions that could easily be answered by actually reading the words on the bill that they are holding in their hand while they are on the phone with me, but he will learn about those kinds of people soon enough, so for now I will encourage him to look for the good in people before passing jusdgement.)
Again my logical and well thought out reply was eschewed for hystrionics and declarations that if things weren't better the next day he would go to the principal himself and tell her he needed a new teacher, to which I replied, "Go for it, Buddy.  Knock yourself out.  Good luck with that and let me know how your conversation with her goes."  Who am I to stop a kid who is unafraid to take his concerns up the chain? 
Actually, I figured things would get better the next day, but secretly I was feeling pretty lucky that I had an out and could let the principal take the heat on this one.  Sweet!  I wrote her a note to let her know what was coming and to tell her I would support her decision to let him learn to deal with a teacher who may not meet my son's personal agenda. Unless the guy is a total dillweed.  Then of course I want him moved.  I didn't say that last part because it occured to me that this particular school is not really  big on hiring dillweeds.  I digress.  The point I am trryyyyiing to make here is that I want Little Man to understand that he will have to interact with lots of teachers and bosses that he may not adore in his life and he needs to learn to deal with those people and situations, because we can't always change the circumstances that put us in their sphere of influence.  Nor should we.  At least not until those people make you so crazy that you want to flatten their tires or spit in their coffee.  THAT would probably be a good time to look at changing those circumstances.  But he ain't there yet.
So what was the end result of all of this First Day drama?  Nothing.  Second day was fine.  Mr S. is OK.  According to my kid, he's not as good as Mr. T was last year, but apparently he passed muster.  And the principal, who LOVES my son and can't imagine him EVER having such a fit because he is such a polite and well-behaved boy?  She laughed hysterically and was a little disappointed that he didn't come marching into her office with a list of his demands and expectations.
And me?  I made a mental note to remember not to forget about the First Day Meltdown next year.   


Melanie -- said...

What a good mom you are! It can be so hard to just sit back and let the chips fall, but such a fantastic lesson! I'm kinda disappointed that he didn't march into the principal's office though -- LOL! My 11yo had a meltdown this AM over his hair cut (which he hates). . . and then nobody even mentioned it at school. Ha!

I Am Boymom said...

LOL Melanie. We've had the haircut issue too. Can't wait to tell my son's kids about stuff like this one day! "You know what your dad did on "HIS" first day of school?"

As far as being a fantastic mom, I think what really happened is that I just didn't have the energy to deal with his fit this year and he gave me an out when he was willing to deal with it himself. Sometimes being exhausted works in my favor.

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