Friday, May 22, 2009

Sometimes following through is so hard...

On Tuesday I got a cryptic email from Tortuga's teacher letting me know he was bringing a note home. I dread those. Turns out he stole someone's snack at school (although he fessed up pretty quickly.) He took something he doesn't like and he wasn't even hungry. I reminded him he would need to do restitution (twice whatever is stolen), write an apology letter to child and us, and that he was jeopardizing going to field day on Friday if he couldn't pull it together. He was also going to miss out on going to the school book fair on Thursday which he really wanted to attend. He was mad! He yelled at me and was belligerent and refused to do it. I told him he could go to bed instead BUT he would miss dinner if he made that choice. I have only let him miss dinner once in the two years he has been with our family because I know food was/is a big issue for him but I fully expected him to do what he needed to do to make this right and I reminded him how serious this was. He just couldn't get it together and he didn't get it done but instead chose to rant, rave, cry, scream, run away (to the front yard) and get himself sent to bed without dinner. It took everything I had to not change my mind and bring him dinner but I really needed to make the point. I realized that recently he has been using getting sent to bed to avoid taking responsibility even when there is a relatively "quick fix." So I upped the ante. It seemed to work and on Wednesday night he did everything he was supposed to do and he was working to keep his attitude towards me in check.

What is it they say about great laid plans? We had made great plans for Thursday (yesterday.) C. and I were taking the boys to the book fair at their school in the afternoon to get new books. Then we were going to get their favorite takeout and drop them off at my sister's house for the night to hang out with their uncle. The girls (Corazon, Milagro, C & I) were having a "girls' night out" and going out to dinner then off to an Indigo Girls concert. It was planned as a surprise for everyone because the kids don't do well with advance notice on anything. We take Corazon to see the Indigo Girls each year and it is one of her favorite music groups (ours too.) Of course, I took away Tortuga's book fair but we could still do the rest with him, right?

So, yesterday I go to pick up Corazon from school. I had pulled out her old Indigo Girls concert t-shirt so she could wear it to the concert and I was still planning on taking Pollito to the book fair before getting the girls ready to go to dinner/concert. She hops into the car and we see her teacher leaving the school Her teacher comes to the car and asks her if she has given me "the note." Corazon feigns surprise ("what note?") and teacher directs her to run back up to the classroom to get it and fills me in on a relatively minor incident at school that Corazon was asked to tell her parents about in a note and return it to school signed by her parents. She hands me a note that says almost nothing about what she did except that something got torn and that the teacher expects me to sign the piece of paper BUT in the space for my signature there is a big black markout. I ask what it is and I get the following, IN ORDER:

"What mark?"
"Uhmm...I think it was there before I wrote the note."
"Uhmm...let me look at it. What the... someone must have written on it and crossed it out."
"Mom, I left it on my desk and I think someone thought it was theirs and wrote on it."
"Oh, I remember, my friend signed it as a joke, and I had to cross it out."
"Mom, I don't know what it is. Believe me. I am telling the truuuuuuth!"

Yep, six times, and still no admission of anything. I calmly said to her that we needed to tell her teacher about these people writing on her stuff and walked her over to her teacher's car. At this point Corazon is bawling and I am pissed off quite upset but staying calm. She doesn't want to face her teacher but since I am trying to get her teacher to understand some of these behaviors and I wanted Corazon to face this I stood my ground. The teacher was great! Very stern, told her she was disappointed, reminded her of the story they are reading in school about taking responsibility and how much worse things get when compounded by further lies, etc. She also told her parents and teachers know better and we are too smart to fall for tricks like she tried to pull. In the process I overheard that Corazon had told everyone she was going to the book fair to get new books that evening. I realized she had read the boy's school papers because I had only spoken about it with Tortuga and she hadn't been home when it happened. So, I confront her and tell her we both know she signed the note with my name on it because she thought she would miss the book fair I hadn't told her she was going to. To which she replied with the biggest attitude I have seen from her in a while "yeah! you are right. I knew Ms. ___would know and I would get in bigger trouble but I didn't care. I would still have gone to the book fair already so I would get what I wanted even if I got in trouble later!!!" With that we drove home in silence with me fuming but keeping my cool.

When we got home I made her sit outside to "think" while I went inside to think. It was 86 degrees outside so I was trying to make her uncomfortable too. I told C. what happened and we strategized to see if we could figure out how to reconcile still letting her go to the concert. I wanted so badly to justify it but knew it would send the wrong message not just to her but to her teachers if she went to school tomorrow having gone to the concert. We made the painful decision to not take her but then couldn't figure out what to do with 3 kids staying with my sister because she cannot handle them all in her home (setup is not conducive to what they needed.) After reaching my sister on the phone we were able to change plans and have her come here to babysit but we didn't get to go out to dinner. She was clearly upset that she was missing this and kept saying she wished she could start over. I had her practice what she would have done differently and she did fine. I praised her then sent her to bed at 6p.m. I felt terrible. I so wanted this to be differently but in my heart I knew we couldn't take her. She was so very sad but I think I was even sadder. This is so hard sometimes.


ldw said...

It is hard and I am so proud of you for standing firm. I am not the best at it myself and I know after the lies and attitude I still want to make them happy. Doesn't exactly work that way unfortunately. You're a great mom and you are doing an amazing job!

MamaKate said...

It is hard, so very hard! I hate it when they ruin the really fun things like that.

Tracey said...

Oh, my, that is so hard. I admire you both so much for sticking to it.

Cupcake Mama said...

Don't I know everything you said down to having my signature forged on a teacher's note!

I haven't blogged about it yet, but our day out on Thursday is something I am hoping to blog about on Sunday. The same struggle of justifying things and being unable to.

I hate sending my kids off to bed without dinner too and I can't understand how they make that choice. Especially with their food issues. I make sure they get a big breakfast which I don't know if that negates the whole consequence or not... tough decisions.

Corrine said...

Great job with your follow through. I tend to lean towards caving.

It is hard, We all agree. But we also agree that you are doing a great job in parenting your children.

Way to go.

BT said...

Good job on the follow through. That is so hard. It is especially hard when it's something you want for yourself as much as you want it for the kids. It is also hard when following through means a big inconvenience and even inconveniencing others such as your sister. You did great.

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