Wow. Really, that is it. Just wow. I don't know how the essence of an adolescent girl can be inhabiting the body of my six year old boy, but I suppose that maybe stranger things have happened. Or maybe not. Regardless, this morning has been dubbed, the morning from Hades. It all started with "the list"....
I try really hard to give my kids a sense of independence. I think at their ages, they are perfectly capable of doing most of the things needed to get ready in the morning. On the other hand, I also need a bit of control, surprise, so I have implemented the list system. Thanks to the amazing women at the ISD, I have these little laminated squares with different tasks on them. I made a poster for each child, which they decorated, and hung them in their in their room. There is a spot for the things that they need to DO, and a spot to move the squares over when that task is DONE. I don't care what order said tasks are done in, I just ask that they are done in time to leave for the bus. Well, included on this list is the task GET DRESSED. Parent's....if you are going to put your child in charge of dressing themselves, be sure that clothes are laid out the night before, so as to avoid a situation like the one we had here this morning.
As I am walking out of my own bedroom this morning, I see Brodie, sitting on the couch, wearing a pair of track pants that are about two sizes too big. These were a hand me down from a cousin, and have been used as pajama pants thus far. On this day...during this week when I am working very hard to get up at 6 am, so that I can be ready for the kids, and focus solely on them, he decided to wear THOSE pants with a shirt that in no way, shape or form coordinates with them. Not a huge deal, I guess, but I just don't want him wearing 1. pajamas and 2. pants that have about a 99.9% chance of falling down before the end of the day. I say to him.
"Brode, you can't wear those pants to school. They are pj's."
He says to me, "No they aren't! I got these from my cousin! I want to wear them!." Please make not of the exclamation points. For whatever reason, he is very passionate about these pants.
"Brodie, they are pajamas because they are way too big for you, so you can't wear them to school."
"They aren't too big! See!" He really just pointed to the pants, proving absolutely nothing one way or the other.
I took a minute to think about this. Where do I take this conversation. Do I force him to change his pants, or do I try to talk him into just changing his shirt so that he at least matches when his pants finally do fall off? I decide that he can make a choice. I am really big choices. I truly believe that a child will feel much more independent and capable if they are able to make their own choices. I say to Brodie:
"Brodie, you can either wear those pajama pants, with a different shirt, or you can keep that shirt on, and change your pants. Your outfit doesn't match."
"I don't care if it matches! I am wearing this! I'll never, ever change my clothes. Never!"
Hmmm, I am now caught in the middle of giving up and letting him win or standing my ground, so that he knows that he has to obey. Well of course, I stand my ground. I say to that crazy little kid, "Brodie, if you choose to keep that outfit on, than you are choosing to loose a privilege today. Do you understand that if you wear those pajama pants and that shirt, you won't be able to play the Wii. It is your choice."
Complete meltdown mode is full force. He is grunting, and growling and howling and all in all just carrying on like a lunatic. But he KEEPS THE CLOTHES ON! I send him to the car, where this unbelievable display continues all the way down to the bus stop. He becomes even more and more irritable as the wait for the bus drags on, and so I start to discuss it with the rest of the bus stop moms. (By the way, at this point, I have lost my patience, and really needed to calm down myself) He hears us talking about him and gets even more agitated. One of the little guys, who is a complete sweetheart, and was in to way being mean says, "Brodie is crazy today!" An absolutely accurate observation, so I say, "I know, he is." Well apparently, that was the last straw. He ran to the van, jumped inside and hid in the back.
Of course, immediately, the bus turns the corner and it's lights turn on. I run to the van and tell Brodie that he needs to get moving, and he is TICKED. If it were possible for smoke to actually come of someones ears, it would have happened. He starts toward the bus, gets about 20 feet away from it, and turns around, HUGE tears in his eyes, and just stares at me. ~sigh~ He is heartbroken. The bus driver looks right at me, closes the door, and drives away! (this particular issue may be saved for another post, but really?! You're just going to drive away!? No warning?!) So, we get back in the car and his meltdown continues all the way to school. I had him come to the front seat when we got to the school and we talked things out a bit. He said that people had hurt his feelings, and it made him sad, and that he doesn't wan't to go to school when people are mean to him. My snotty nosed little boy told me that people at school aren't very nice to him, and he doesn't want to go any more...
How can a six year old break my heart? I wanted to tell him that he didn't have to go to school, and that we could just go home and play and watch cartoons, and have fun. But life doesn't work that way, does it? I had to talk my little guy down, and send him into that school....
~sigh~ Does it ever get easier? Will I ever feel ok about stretching him, and forcing him to experience new things? Will I ever be ok sending him into a building full of people who might not see what I see? People who might not understand just how perfect, and bright and beautiful he is inside? With people who don't know what he has had to sacrifice by having a sibling with special needs, and that he missed out on his mom and dad for weeks at a time and just needs a little understanding. He is dealing, and growing, and changing and still.....he is amazing.
I went to his classroom to check on him and bring him a book. He was sitting in his seat, perfectly still, listening to his teacher (in the outfit). Gosh, he is a good kid.
Mrs. Turley sent him out and he smiled at me on the way out, licking the snot off of his upper lip.
"Are you doing ok Brode? Is your day getting better." He gives me hug, and holds on a little longer than he usually does.
"Yeah I'm alright. I gotta get this book to the library, the cart is gone now."
Amazing, I'll be effected all day by what went on this morning. He, on the other hand, has already moved on. I love him. And today, I am thankful for his grace.
**Thanks for the encouragement today, fellow bus stop moms. It meant a lot.