The Vice Principal’s Office

Yesterday I received a phone call from Gus’ vice principal. Apparently he and and another child had been wrestling on the playground and then sent to his office by an aide on duty. I assured the Vice Principal that we would address the issue at home and thanked him for his call. The I tried very hard not to break down into tears at work.

My sweet, rule-following child who was always praised for his good behavior was in trouble. First the behavior discussion with his teacher at the parent-teacher conference and then despite the multiple discussions about rule following and good behavior the very next day he was in the Vice Principal’s office. What was I going to do with him?

We’ve never had an issue like this before. It’s all new territory for us. Gus is probably lucky I got the call mid-day and didn’t make any snap decisions about his consequences. It turns out the other child involved is his best friend. The boys have been thick as thieves since they were in diapers and we live less than a mile apart. They weren’t fighting, just fooling around. I chatted with the boy’s mother (my friend) to see what her take was.

I was a little surprised to discover that she and her husband were more on the side of the fence where it wasn’t really the boy’s fault – there are other behavior challenges in their class and the aide was probably just taking her frustration at the situation out on our boys. Their son would receive a stern talking to, and that would be the end of the matter. I was in the other side of the fence. If you get sent to the Vice Principal’s office, regardless of the circumstances, then there are consequences for you.

Then I turned to Facebook and asked for opinions on what Gus’ punishment should be. My favorite suggestion was to ask Gus what he thought it should be.

So, we did that. After some discussion with him and Mountain Daddy we all agreed that Gus should pick a screen to be banned from for the rest of the week. He loves to play on an iPad traveling to or from school, but he also loves playing video games and watching tv with his family. Ultimately he chose no iPad for this week.

The seriousness of the situation seemed to get through to him and I’m hopeful that will be the last time I get a call from the Vice Principal. This week certainly didn’t help with my increasing gray hairs!

The Parent-Teacher Conference

Mountain Daddy and I went to Gus’ parent-teacher conference yesterday.  Gus is the youngest kid in his class (his birthday is 10 days before the cutoff date…) but does pretty well academically.  I wouldn’t call him a genius, but he falls into the high average or above average range usually.  It’s nice to see his progress from the fall to now.  I’m struggling with a few things though.  First, I remember being near the top of my class when I was young.  The expectation was for A’s, or in this case 100’s.  And for the most part, I achieved that.  Gus isn’t quite there, and I don’t know if our expectations are where they should be (he enjoys school and completes his work, what more can I ask for?) or if we should express a desire for 100’s…

Secondly, Gus’ teacher needed to speak with us about Gus’ behavior.  This was a surprise for the kid who always follows the rules.  Unfortunately, there are 1/2 a dozen or so rambunctious boys in Gus’ class, and he is a follower.  It’s not hard to see what is happening, but how do we fix it?  How do you explain to a 6 year old that his choice in friends is going to get him in trouble?  I think I’ve drilled into his head that he needs to listen to his teacher the first time she speaks.  He needs to not fool around in the cubby area, and he needs to follow the rules.  We’ll keep it up, and hopefully see some improvement by the time report cards come out next month.  The last report card had all C’s (for commendable) on classroom behaviors.  I’m not sure we’ll see that this time around…

A day in my life…

Welcome to the window into my life. Let’s start with a typical day for me.

5:15 – my iPhone annoyingly will not let me sleep any longer. This is of course assuming some small child hasn’t wandered into my bed at some point in the middle of the night, thus keeping me awake at a most inconvenient time.

5:45 – showered and dressed, I head downstairs for 1/2 an hour of quiet while I make PB&J sandwiches and pack lunches. If I’m lucky, I’ll have a spare 15 minutes to drink a tea and play on my iPad before waking up the house.

6:20 – cajole the boys out of bed. They share a room for now, so I usually walk in, say good morning and then work on whichever child moves the most. I get one up and dressed and send him downstairs and then convince the next one to wake up.  Rinse and repeat.

6:30 – warm up my car, find breakfast for the boys and perhaps find something on tv to keep them distracted while Mountain Daddy showers.  He’ll get them packed up and delivered to the appropriate schooling locations by 8am.

6:40 – hugs goodbye and I’m out the door. In a somewhat odd decision, I drive a convertible mini cooper. It’s a fun little car, but I’m not convinced that it really enjoys the giant frost heaves and massive amounts of salt and sand on the road in the winter time…

7:00 – arrive at work. I’m responsible for opening the building I work in, the doors open at 7:30. And… then the day begins!

7:30 – 4:00 – I supervise 30 college students, which is about the equivalent to herding cats. I spend my days answering their questions, responding to support questions, writing tech tip articles and documents for our wiki, and generally running a support center. If I’m lucky, I’ll find a free 45 minutes for a lunch break and during that time I’ll run errands (dry cleaners, department store for kid socks, grocery store for those few supplies we forgot, etc.)

4:00 – Pick up Augie at the preschool. His running hug to greet me is definitely one of the highlights of my day. After I pack him into the Mini we drive to the Elementary school to pick up Gus. After collecting all of Gus’ things and making sure they’ve both used the bathroom (nothing worse than stopping on the side of the road in 10 degree weather to pee) we take the 20 minute drive home.

5:00 – home at last. Even though I leave my office around 4pm, it takes me a full hour to collect 2 kids and drive 20 minutes… Mountain Daddy won’t be home for 30-60 minutes, so it’s a bit of a juggling act until then. Here is a list of things to get done in the next hour:

  • Start fires in both the wood stove and pellet stove (we keep the heat in the house at 60, and rely on alternative heat sources to make us comfortable in the evenings)
  • Finish homework (with the 1st grader)
  • Bathe 2 boys
  • Cook dinner

6:00 – if things are running smoothly, then we’re close to having dinner at this point.  Depending on what I decided to make tonight, the boys may or may not eat most of it.  We pretty much operate on the philosophy of “this is what is for dinner – eat it, or you’ll be hungry” (there are occasional exceptions to the rule, but for the most part they find something on their plates to eat)

7:00 – bedtime!  Mountain Daddy and I take turns.  One night he reads books and tucks kids in and I clean the kitchen and the next night we switch.  One night a week I do it all when he goes to a friend’s house to play video games (a long standing agreement – it works well for us).

8:00 – books are read, backs are rubbed and hopefully boys are asleep.  Mountain Daddy and I settle on the couch to play on computers or iPads and watch a tv show or 2.

9:30 (ish) – Though I would like to stay up later, I know that 5:15 will arrive well before I’m ready, so I wander upstairs, find clothes for me and the smalls (usually) and collapse into bed, hoping that everyone sleeps through the night, and feeling a bit like Groundhog Day will happen tomorrow…

I feel tired pretty much all the time, and if you have kids – whether you stay home and chase them all day or like me, you work outside your home I’m guessing you’re just as tired as I am…