Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The week I barely remember

Most of last week is lost in a fog.  A fog brought on by a sinus infection and it turns out, bronchitis.  Two things stand out to me about last week:
  1. I was sick.  So, so sick and too stubborn to really admit how bad it was and how much I just needed to stay home from work, go to the doctor, and rest.
  2. My Logan, my baby, my five year old, learned to lie.  On purpose.
It was a tough week.  On top of being sick, I had to take on this issue that had cropped up with my son, an issue that went way past one little lie.

Logan, it seems, has been having a lot of trouble in school since we've come back from Christmas break.  Not academically.  Academically the child is right where he needs to be for a kindergartner in January - even a little ahead in some areas.  But socially, emotionally...well, that seems to be another story, and it is starting to really affect his behavior in school.  This isn't completely new - he struggled in pre-school and continued to strugge through the fall this year with little things like sitting still, following directions, listening, keeping his hands to himself.  All those little, but important, self-management skills. 

None of that was unexpected either.  He's a young kindergartner, only five and a half, not six until the end of June.  He barely made our state age cut off to go into kindergarten this year.  I expected some behavior issues because he was younger, because he would lack some of the months - even a whole year in some cases - that other students had had to mature.  Sending him to kindergarten this past fall was a big debate, a choice we took very seriously and discussed at length with his pre-school teacher.  In the end, we made the choice to send him because intellectually he was so ready.  And, behavior was an issue.  An issue that didn't seem to really be getting any better as the year progressed.

But, I didn't know how bad it had gotten.

And then, I discovered the lie.

He'd had a bad day at school last Friday.  So bad that his teacher had sent a note home to tell me about it.  A note that needed to be signed and returned on the next school day.  A note he hid from me and then told me he had had a good day.  A note he attempted to return to the teacher unsigned.  A note he then hid in his bag again with no intention of me finding.

But, find it I did.

And I asked him about it.  At first I thought it was from that day, and I was upset because he had just told me he had had a good day.  I confronted him and he caved.  Dropped his head and told me he'd had a bad day.  That he'd even had to talk to the principal! 

Then I looked a little closer at the note.  Realized that it wasn't from that day, that it was from the previous school day!  And again, his little blond head dropped and he started to cry as he admitted what he had done.

He was broken hearted.  I was broken hearted.  We were sad together.  I hugged him, told him I loved him, and loaded him in the car.  At home, he had to sit at the table and finish his work from school, work he hadn't finished there because of his behavior.  We had to talk about lying and why it is wrong.  We had to talk about good behavior and why it is necessary.  It was an early bedtime, a tough night all around.

The next morning I went in to talk to his teacher.  We came up with a plan.  I fought through the fog of sickness that afternoon to find, create, and print of "homework" for Logan, to make a plan for tackling bad days, giving consequences for poor choices, but not turning school and home into a miserable experience.  (Talk about a challenge!)  And that very first night, I had to put my plan to the test.

And it worked.

And the next night I had to do it again.

And he fought it.  And I stuck to it.  And it worked.

And the next day he had a good day!

And yesterday was Monday, and he had another good day!*

I figure we are far from out of the woods.  Considering his age, considering that it is going to take a few more years for things to even out with the others in his grade - all that means we will probably be dealing with similar issues in various forms for awhile.  But, having made it through this bump in the road gives me confidence that we can make it through the next.  And the next.  And the next....

Last week was tough.  I'm actually kind of glad I was sick so all the details are blurred and all I have to remember is what I need to remember:  Being a parent is tough work, an incredibly important job.  But, it is a job filled with wonder and beauty and love, a job I wouldn't trade for anything.  I love my children, I love Logan.  I love that I get to be there to help guide him toward being the person he was meant to be - bumps and all!

*I also caved, went to the doctor, got lectured on waiting too long to go to the doctor, got an antibiotic shot in the butt along with an oral prescription, and am starting to feel a little better finally.  Go figure!

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