It’s time for an update. Why? Because I don’t want to study Child Psychology right now. You’re welcome.
I had an emotional meltdown at school today. (school = work) Here’s a tip: If you have a stressful life, work at a school. While it does add even more stress, nothing will turn your day around like a sweet kid. Not my own student, of course. While she does make my days brighter, she can also tank a day with an eye roll and sarcastic remark. But the kids we get to work around/with/beside can be little cherubs of joy.
Hop aboard my rollercoaster, would you? Keep your hands arms and opinions inside the ride at all times. Pull down on the bar until it squashes the negative comments out of your body and enjoy. Permanecer sentados por favor.
Last week our campus had Human Growth and Development. aka Sex Ed. (when did we stop calling things what they are, by the way?) You can imagine the joy and wonder the sixth graders had to finally learn what the vas deferens do. I know I was overjoyed. What I learned, however, is that there are still sixth grade girls who think you can tell a girl is menstruating by looking at her. Parents. Come on, now. Really? I can’t get into too much detail, and thankfully I was spared having to share a room with the smelly, immature boys who had to also learn what the vas deferens do because we still separate the kids to mono tonally inform them about “their changing bodies”. I noticed this week how much more vocal the boys were about their immaturity and knowledge about everyone’s puberty journey.
Here’s the difference:
(Scene: outside while kids are enjoying the first afternoon sunshine on their laptops having study hall in clumps of friend groups)
Jock friend who was excused from the Puberty Lesson to the gaggle of sports kids he is sitting with: *all of them giggling at a kid’s screen* “Wait …. a p**sy is a vagina, right … ?” *uncomfortable affirmative nods*
(Scene: hallway outside girl’s bathroom)
Girl to classmate in a stall: “You can take some tylenol to help with the pain. I know it’s pretty bad in the beginning, but it will get better. You’ll get used to it.”
Stall Chick: “OMG, this feels so WEIRD!” (sporting her first ever pad)
Girl who provided emergency supplies: “I know, but you can’t tell. It’ll be ok.”
And upon seeing me standing nearby, I smiled at them both and got hugs and acknowledgement of support.
(Disclaimer: I am supposed to be quasi invisible in the classroom, and though I am a behemoth of an old coot, the kids sometimes forget i’m standing three feet from them)
I have so much hope for the future of our girls, but the boys? … oh man, those boys.
I also shared the story of having met Ryan Reynolds to some kids talking about him yesterday. They were shooketh. I qualified that it was a long time ago. When they asked, “What did you say to him?” and I answered truthfully, “‘Hi! Last name? Dog’s name?'” “And then what?!” “‘Here’s your dog, thank you, have a nice day!'” and they were expectedly deflated, I again stated it was about twenty years ago. One of my favorite students said, “What?! I thought you WERE twenty!” a nearby boy who is admittedly not one of my favorites said quickly, “What? No way. She’s way older than that. She’s at least ….. pause to assess damage to his life ….. forty. Right …??” I answered, “Close enough.” (i’m 45)
So today I was plodding right along, and I decided to sabotage my entire week by checking the status of my son’s grades before letting him go hang out with his boyfriend. Big mistake. Huge. Coincidentally parent teacher conference week is next week. At the thought of going to yet another night filled with teacher after teacher telling me how low my son’s grades are and how many assignments he’s missing, and how intelligent and capable they know he is, but just can’t quite get him to participate in his own education … i wanted to stick a spork in my ears and run away. What do I need to go for? What can I possibly tell them I haven’t already said? What could they possibly tell me to change what I already know to be true?!
I wrote everyone an email stating that unless there was some positive, productive, enlightening reason to give me hope that someone has discovered a way to help my child instead of bring me nothing but bad news, I was skipping conferences. I admitted to this being year four of the same dialogue no matter what I do to encourage, lose sleep, and sanity at home, and for nothing to change. Until a teacher finds a way to make my son’s education engaging, or a new strategy to help him organize his thoughts and assignments, “peace out”.
Why do I have to punish myself year after year with this crap? It felt good to put my foot down. It felt good to reassess what is important, and what I have control over. (It certainly isn’t my kid’s grades!) After this little exchange, I was overcome with despair, frustration, sadness, isolation. I had to take a few laps around the campus to calm down.
Before anyone suggests how much control I have over privileges and control over any joy my kid is allowed to have in life until his grades are managed, save it. Please save it. Unless you have a firm understanding of our situation, just know that what I’m doing is the very best I can and no. Contrary to what you may have gone through as a child/parent/teacher/student, you have no idea what I am doing wrong. Believe me, I thought I knew it was just as easy as removing video games and a phone for a week. It isn’t.
So I carefully trauma dumped to some co-workers – which did not help my mood and overall feeling of being a failure of a parent – and had to get over my added guilt at not being able to handle not being able to handle it all. (still with me?) And went on with my day.
Because at the end of the day, I am a bad Bitch. I handle shit – poorly – and I get through it – with junk food – and surround myself with people who tolerate my crazy.
And now I need to go watch TV with my kids and try to scrape some enjoyment out of Tuesday. A feat in and of itself.