Friday, October 12, 2012


Henry got in trouble at school yesterday. The kind of trouble where the teacher calls you at work, trouble.  He was using his hands instead of his words on more than one occasion.  When I got the call, it took me a minute to place the caller's name. When it hit me what was going on, my mommy brain started going haywire. Henry's been cranky lately.  I've been telling Ken that he is overtired and needs a nap. Unfortunately, he doesn't ever get a nap. Truth be told, he really hasn't napped for a while, but over the summer, I sent his to his room for a break every afternoon.  Now he doesn't even get that.  He's in Kindergarten until 3ish and then his afterschool program until 5:30 at which point we come home, eat dinner, straighten up, get ready for the next day and go to bed. The kids go to sleep are put to bed between 8 and 8:30 every night. They wake up at 7.  I don't know how he's not getting enough sleep, unless the issue comes down to quality of sleep.
Truly, though, when you are on the phone with your Kindergartener in the middle of the day because he's been hitting people, it doesn't really matter if he's been sleeping well or not.  What matters is that he sees the look through the phone lines and straightens up for the rest of the day! He wouldn't talk to me on the phone which simultaneously made me more upset with him and more guilty about scolding him. 
I thought about it off and on for the rest of the day.  I felt bad that my little boy was dealing with something that he couldn't put into words.  I also felt bad that he was causing trouble in his classroom and hurting his classmates.  I was angry with him because, really, I feel like he should know better. I was trying to figure out how to handle it when I picked him up--4 or 5 hours after the transgression.
Ultimately, I'm glad I spoke with him on the phone. I was able to communicate to him that I was aware of the situation and not happy about it. I also got some time to calmly think about it and come up with a solution for later. I also called his afterschool program and asked them to give him an extra hug when he got there.  I didn't want him to have a crappy day there too!
When I picked him up he seemed very clingy. He wanted to hold my hand all the way to the car and even as I was trying to buckle him.  I took him home (Frances had violin and ballet, so she was with Ken) and sat him on the couch. I explained that I was upset with him and his behavior. I explained that it was not ever okay to hit his friends or any other people around him.  I explained that God had given me a big important job in being his mommy and part of that job is to make sure he grows up to be a nice person who is kind to others.  I also explained that if I ever got a report like this from school again that he would be punished.  And that punishment means something you don't like: like no TV, no soccer, etc.
After I had him repeat back to me what we had talked about to ensure that he understood, I said, "OK. Now we're done.  I'm going to tell Daddy that you had a bad day at school, but he is not going to punish you or talk to you about it.  This is over. Let's put it in the past and be done with it. We won't talk about it anymore."
Then I gave him a big hug and sent him to the bathtub to play while I made dinner.  Later on, I told him that he was going to bed early-not as a punishment, but because he had been tired and cranky lately and some extra sleep would make him feel better and happier. He didn't put up any kind of fight, which just reassured me that I was right and he went to bed at 7:30.
I cleaned out his backpack after he was in bed and I found this project from school.
I admit, it made me cry a little bit.  I was feeling unsure as a parent about the whole situation, but when I saw this, it reminded me of what a gift Henry is. Even though he messes up (don't we all!), he is a gift. We gave him an important name-after his great-grandfather, his grandfather and his father-because he is an important kid. And I am glad that God gave me the responsibility of making sure he turns out well.

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