Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hard Lessons

So Max learned a hard lesson today.

It has been a rough couple of weeks around our house. Crazy mixed up schedules with too much to do and too little time to do it in. The result of this toxic combination has been out of control children and even worse behavior.

Today was one of those mornings. One of those mornings when my voice appears to be on mute. Nothing I said was being heard, the louder I got, the worse the behavior got. Since I, too, am suffering from little sleep syndrome, I am not handling the situations in the most adult and dignified ways, either, but this is about Max today, so I digress.....

Max would not get dressed. He would not put his toys down. He would not put his breakfast dishes in the sink. He would not ________. He would not ___________. He would not __________. I could fill in those blanks all day long.

I knew he had a field trip today. HE knew he had a field trip today. He knew he was going to the movies and what movie he was seeing. He talked about it all morning in between me yelling for him to get dressed and do his chores.... he knew and I knew.... what I knew better was how to tell time and I knew that we were going to miss the field trip bus. And I did not care. I reminded him that his delays could mean the bus would leave without him, and that would put a small spark under his hiney for about 5 seconds, but then his toy truck would distract him and the vicious cycle would start over.

After 45 minutes of fighting to get out the door, we are on the way to school.

We arrive at school just in time for Max to get out of the car and watch the field trip bus drive out of the parking lot.

He collapsed to his knees in tears.

I asked him to stand up and I talked with him face to face. I reminded him that the reason he missed this field trip was because he did not follow directions and did not get dressed when mommy told him to. I told him that tomorrow was a BIG field trip to the zoo - and he better try harder tomorrow or he would miss that bus too.

He dried his eyes and walked into the school. Because all of his friends and teachers were gone, he was asked to be a teacher's helper in Ben's class - which helped brighten the situation.

I know I probably could have waved my arms like a chicken with my head cut off to get them to stop the bus. I know where the field trip was going and I probably could have driven him there myself to catch up with his friends - and I would have been a rock star in my son's eyes... but then we would have missed the point entirely.

I felt horrible as I drove away from his school because I had several ways I COULD have fixed the situation, but I chose not to.

I chose the hard road in hopes that this little event makes a big impact in his life.

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