Thursday, January 10, 2008

In Which I Write a Novel About My Poor Parenting

Last night I got a phone call from the Man-Cub’s teacher, Ms. W. She wanted to let me know that a parent had complained about my son’s behavior on the playground. The parent indicated that it was an ongoing problem that included my son making racial slurs against the Hispanic kids and essentially begging another child to hit him so that he could hit him back.

I was stunned. That kind of behavior is not even remotely something that I would expect from my son and I told her so. To my relief, she agreed, indicating that the Cub is nothing more than a typical little boy in her classroom; if he does get scolded it is always for either speaking out of turn or for acting the part of the class clown (no idea where he gets that from). She expressed bafflement at the situation but, more than that, she expressed concern for the Cub’s welfare if he was indeed taunting another student into hitting him.

I told Ms. W. that Hugh and I would obviously talk to the Cub that evening to try to get to the bottom of things. I also mentioned the issues we had had with the Cub’s after school program and indicated that punishment would again be delivered swiftly. When I mentioned the after-school situation, however, I noticed that the teacher got a bit quiet. I didn’t think too much about it however, given the fact that I know teachers hate to make these types of phone calls to parents and, assuming that she was just relieved to have it over and done with.

When I picked the Cub up from his new program, I got right to the point; his teacher had called and we were very unhappy with his behavior on the playground. The look of utter confusion on his face was my first clue that not all was right down in Smallville.

But, because I have always said that I am not going to be one of those parents-you know the-My Child Never Does Anything Wrong, You Can’t Blame My Child (and, yes Mrs. Dahmer, I’m sure that little Jeffery is a vegetarian and that there is a reasonable explanation for all these body parts in the fridge) Parent. Yeah, one of those parents, so, instead; I raked my child over the coals for three hours last night trying to get him to tell me what had happened on the playground to require a complaint from another parent.

Three hours.

He was adamant that 1: He would never make racial comments about Hispanic kids because, hello, half his friends are Hispanic and if he did that they might not want to play football with him anymore and 2: He wouldn’t ask someone to hit him because he doesn’t want to get beat up (said with a look of genuine panic at the thought that someone might actually hit him).

I was at a loss. A huge part of me wanted to become one of those parents but I didn’t. I told the Cub that I loved him and that I always would but that I was very disappointed in him for not copping to the truth (and, I may have threatened to send him to the local Catholic school where the nuns are perfectly free to wrap the knuckles of naughty children with a ruler. I AM NOT PROUD!), I also told him that the possible outcome of our meeting with his teacher might be the loss of recess for the rest of the year.

Kid still didn’t crack, insisting that he doesn’t have a problem with anyone, that he doesn’t get picked on nor does he pick on anyone else.

Needless to say, I did not sleep well last night.

Today, when Hugh and I visited with the teacher and I mentioned the name of the kid that he had had problems with in after school programs, she literally blanched. So, I asked her if it was the same kid he was having issues with now and she nodded. When I told her that I had specifically asked the Cub if he still had problems with that kid and that he said he didn’t even see him anymore since quitting after school program she admitted that the kid was notoriously bad about lying and causing problems. Her concern however was that the kid's mother had made the complaint. The mother who, by the way, works at the school as a para-professional and therefore has insight into what goes on on the playground.

She went on to say that the parent had told her that the Cub’s behavior on the playground at recess on the Friday before holiday break was the straw that broke the camel’s back, as they say, and that was why she had complained to the teacher. She had, after all, seen it with her own two eyes.

Uh, huh.

It was at that precise moment when the realization of what an incredibly horrible parent I am finally hit me. Hard.

Because, as I reminded Ms. W, the Cub didn’t go to recess that day. The Cub was sick and he stayed in for all three recesses, I know because I was at the school that day, helping with the classroom Christmas party and Ms. W. and I had a discussion about how even the sick kids want to go to school on party day. Also, the parent? Same woman who complained that the Cub had given her son the Indian Burn-the offense for which we removed him from after school programs and which he always denied.

Let me tell you, people, Ms. W? Was pissed.

It occurred to her that she had been lied to and used by a parent who might could maybe just have some underlying reason for picking on my son which, I am now convinced is the fact.

Also pissed? My husband who put two and two together once he heard the complaining parent’s name; that’s right, guess who arrested a family member of that particular parent?

I was and still am, livid about the entire situation.

While I feel a great deal of relief about the Cub not being a Jeffery Dahmer in Training, I am appalled at my own handling of the situation.

My son now believes that his parents think he is a liar and cannot be trusted. How do I even begin to repair that damage? How do I convince him that his father and I will always be on his side when frankly, we weren’t? I wasn’t there for my baby and I will never forgive myself for it.

I will, however do my damndest to buy back his love with Webkinz and Nerf products.

I am also going to do my damndest to see that parent/para “professional” censured by the school, starting with the local administration. If that doesn’t work, I’m going all the way to the School Board and, if that doesn’t work, I’m going to taunt her into hitting me on the playground and then I’m going to kick. Her. Ass.

(If you know me in real life you know that confrontation ranks on my list of favorite things right up there with repeatedly hammering myself in the head with a gold club but, this time, I am all in.)


She’s large but, I’m fit; I think I can take her.

I'll still be a shitty parent but at least I'll feel better.

5 comments:

Brian said...

Don't go beating yourself up over this. Be as honest with the man-cub as you expect him to be with you. Just tell him you f*ed up. (You'll want to pick a more suitable word, I'm sure). You were just working with the information you had. Hell, even the teacher was buffaloed for a while. You found the mistake and will be taking steps to correct things. I hope you get that p[ara's job taken from her. If she's gonna pull stuff like that, can she be trusted to properly guide young kids? Screw. Her.

You go Chelle.

Dana said...

Been there. Done that. Feel for ya. It's a tough situation to be in but it is a good thing that kids are forgiving.

Hope that para loses her job or better yet, gets her butt kicked on the playground.

Erika said...

I'm sure the man-cub will be more than understanding when you explain what happened. Chelle, I know you are an awesome parent, and I only get to read your stories. I know he feels the same way. Plus, a couple of toys thrown in never hurts. :) PS What a first class b*tch to do that to a child, when her adult family member is a criminal!

Finlands finest said...

Unbelievable!! I cannot believe a woman would lie about a child like that. I am appalled!

I'm sure the cub will forgive you!!

Jen said...

Oh my God. I am so sorry. No words...just so sorry. Sonofa...I hope that bloody para loses her job and gets drop-kicked to the curb.