Thursday, June 19, 2008

Brother Bear

Yes, it's a Disney movie that was released in 2003. It's actually one of my favorites simply because of the touching story line and fun sound track. Admittedly it did teach my two year old son to yell, "shut up" based on one of the scenes with the rams yelling across the valley at each other. I wasn't super happy about that because not only did Dayton repeat it, he knew how to use it! So Clancy, I would have to say that bears may just be my favorite animal!

Regardless, my point here is that the story line starts with a Mama Bear defending her cub. This principle is a reality and as a Mother I feel it in full force. I never want to be the kind of parent who defends their children to the death right, wrong or indifferent but I do want to be the kind of parent that loves her children unconditionally and supports them in every instance. It's a difficult balance and perhaps an unrealistic goal but nonetheless I am determined quite naturally to defend them.

I can tell you that there are times that trigger the Mama Bear principle quite strongly and I become a less than pleasant person only focused on defending my child. If you have children you likely understand what I am struggling to articulate. Here is a brief synopsis of the background and the most recent incident that put me into attack mode. RAWWWWRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!

Dayton has really been struggling lately. It started a week ago last Tuesday and it's difficult as a parent to feel so helpless and not just be able to fix things for him. We aren't sure what has caused this and are looking at both behavior and medical causes to better understand and help resolve the heart of Dayton's issues. He's always been a sensitive little guy. He's sweet. He's tender. He's friendly. He's helpful and normally he listens very well.

For whatever reason he has become defiant and aggressive. He has a hard time listening and is also struggling getting along with others. He's become frustrated, angry and is extremely hard on himself. We're exploring various causes and haven't been able to fully understand what causes his outbursts. I hate not being able to make everything better.

Today was the first day it was apparent at school. Unfortunately I knew it was only a matter of time given the frequency and intensity of his melt downs. He got kicked out of class for his behavior and the only thing we really knew was that he was upset that he didn't get to "serve". We weren't sure what that meant and his teacher was already gone for the day.

I got a call tonight that did not excuse his behavior but certainly did explain it. He innocently asked me why I didn't come to his luncheon (he was at his Dad's when he called). I wasn't sure what he was talking about and inquired some more only to find out that there was a parent luncheon at his school today. It was so that the children could serve their parents lunch.

I was heart broken. Here he thought that we just didn't come. He was worried that it was because he has been "bad" and then he apologized for not telling me about it. That was an even bigger clencher as I certainly didn't want him taking responsibility for it. All I could picture was Dayton at school feeling sad because nobody showed up for him. Again, I'm not condoning his behavior and still don't really know what happened but I'm sure I understand where it came from.

What made me furious was the fact that his school did not communicate this with us. We stay on top of the calendar, we talk to the teachers and I am always looking for events that they post outside of the classroom. I physically felt angry about this situation based on the fact that he's already been struggling and then to have something like this happen made me sick. I wanted to scratch someone's eyes out and had a few choice words that came out of my mouth.

I called the school immediately simply because I wanted to understand and couldn't wait. The director answered the phone, I identified myself and proceeded to ask if there was a luncheon earlier today. She responded affirmatively and I expressed that I was upset because we were not aware of this event.

Her response, "Well, I don't know why you didn't know because everyone else did."

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Did she really say that to me? Yes. Yes she did. EWWWWWWW.

I asked her how it was communicated, she said she didn't know and I asked if I could speak to someone who did. Again, there was no notice, nothing on the calendar and nothing posted. She came back and said a note was sent home on Thursday and notice given on Monday. Dayton was not there either of those days and she let me know if was my fault for not knowing.

WHAT THE HELL? I wanted to reach through the phone and wring her neck.

I cannot tell you what kind of tale spin that this put me into. My child suffered unnecessarily because once again their school failed to communicate. Nevermind that I spent 20 minutes in his class this morning talking to his teacher. Nevermind that we always have a crowd present to support Dayton. Nevermind that they knew that he wasn't there those days. Nevermind that none of this was mentioned when we were told was kicked out of class. Nevermind that they didn't even bother to call when there was a problem.

Needless to say, I am still angry. Yes, I have my angry eyes on. The Mama Bear in me isn't thinking nice thoughts. What's hard is that the actual teachers at their school are really good. The problem lies with Management and we have continually suffered through their communication break downs as they fumble around senselessly. The two women who run the office should NOT be allowed to interface with others and certainly not passionate parents.

Honestly, we are always engaged with their happenings at school. We stay on top of things, we help out. We donate supplies and always provide treats, etc. We know the other children by name and are always involved and present at the events. We talk to the teachers, we attend conferences and seek feedback. I'm just done and hate that this happened today and the Mama Bear in me is up in arms big time.

On the B Side: I realize that I get pretty emotional about this kind of thing. Mostly I hate that he is hurting. I hate that I can't just make everything better. I hate that garbage like this happens. Luckily Dayton is able to understand things when we explain why nobody was there for him and I am glad that he was brave enough to ask me about it. He's so sensitive and internalizes so much. I hope that we can continue to foster a safe line of communication as I think it's critical and the only way we can really understand what's going on with him. I do so love my little guy and just want to see him live, learn, grow, be secure , be happy and feel confidant. Why can't we just wrap those kind of things up in a box with a pretty bow, hand it over and call it good??

4 shout outs:

Michelvis said...

Wow, I think you're even angrier writing it out than you were at dinner. I hope I didn't downplay it. I can only imagine the feeling of helplessness.

Dayton is a wonderful kid and I think just going through a rough spot. He will be awesome because he has you, Spencer and Amy.

Clancy in Idaho said...

Wow... I'm sorry. My mama bear is RAWRRING too after reading that story. I can not believe that she said that to you either. My heart breaks for Dayton. For Mother's Day Ella's class did something like this. They had a tea party for the moms and they sang us a song, recited a poem and then served us "tea" and cookies. (tea was a nasty sugary drink, but hey, Ella was adorable serving it so I drank it!) I saw kids whose moms weren't there and they thought they shouldn't sing, or have a cookie. It was heartwrenching and I am so sorry. Maybe you could give him an opportunity to "serve" you at home... get stuff ready and let him do his service! Make it a big deal and invite someone.... I dunno... just an idea.

Sorry that you are dealing with poor management. Love you

Britta said...

What a great idea, Clanc! I do remember you teling me about the little tea party and I always feel bad for the little ones who are sad and alone during things like that :(

Kristin said...

Oh Britta, that is so not right! I don't even no how to express what I mean appropriately. I would be just as upset as you. Just because you don't condone the behavior doesn't mean you can't get defensive. Besides don't we try to avoid temptation, not antagonize and play with it. What were they thinking? Seriously! I'm glad you have good friends to help mull it over. Clancy's idea is awesome. Love ya!