We are near the end of our second week of school and I will say that things are going great so far. A few things I am enjoying...
- Driving Alex to school at 6:45am. He starts school an hour earlier than everyone else, and for that short ride to school it's just me and him in the car, and for 4.5 minutes he and I have some pretty neat chats. It's just a great way to start my day.
- Making everyone's school lunches. I don't always write notes, but I always write their names on their bags in big, bold and sometimes loopy letters just to make it look special.
- Doing morning chores. We wake up early enough that everyone has time for their chores. Beds are being made, clothes are being picked up off the floors, the dishwasher is being emptied, pets are being fed, and once Aislynn even vacuumed the downstairs before leaving for school.
- A quiet house after the last school drop-off! I come home to a house that is so quiet I can actually hear the neurons in my brain making synapses. Yeah, it's that quiet. Well, until the baby cries. But then he takes his morning nap, and it's so quiet again. I'm loving this part about Back-to-School! I'm not used to this because usually I'm homeschooling and there are kids 24/7 in this house. So this quiet business? It's pretty awesome.
Another thing that's rather enjoyable is our Wednesday walk to school days. On Wednesdays the middle school kids start school an hour later than the elementary, so I do not have to take them all at the same time on Wednesday mornings. And that means there is no rush, so we can actually walk to our elementary school. So I've dubbed Wednesdays as "Wednesday Walk Day" because everything is more fun when it has a title, right? Right! Anyway, the kids love walking to school, the baby loves stroller rides, and I need the exercise... so it's a win-win-win all the way around!
A little story about Aislynn.
On our first Wedneday Walk Day (last week) she was all excited to walk, as were the others, but at the last minute as we were leaving she asked, "Can I ride my scooter?" and I said NO right away to that one.
"Why not?!!!" she whined at me, just as I knew she would. Aislynn hardly ever takes NO for an answer.
"Because," I said, "we are not riding scooters. We are walking."
"BUT...but I want to ride my scooter!"
"Because. If you ride your scooter, how do you think it's going to get home?"
"You can put it in the stroller." she said. Simple enough.
"I am not carrying that thing home. No way." (it's all up hill on the way home, by the way)
"Why can't I just ride it? Please!!!!"
"No. And don't ask me anymore." and I shoot her "the eyes" and so she stops asking.
"Ugh!!" she grunts. "Ughhhhh!" (stomps foot a couple of times for good measure)
So I ignore the grunts and stomps, and we are now all walking down the street toward the school. It's about a 12 minute walk. After about a minute into it, Aislynn starts in again.
"I wanted to ride my scooter! Ughhh! My scooter!! Why can't I ride my scooter? Ugh! You're so mean! Ughhhh! Next time I'm riding my scooter! Yes, I am! Next time! Ugh....why can't I just ride my scooooooooter....." and she just goes on and on about this scooter business for about 3 or 4 minutes. And I can just feel my last nerve snapping. Right at this point I just wanted to turn and shout at her "AHHHH!!! ENOUGH, ALREADY!! YOU ARE NOT RIDING THAT SCOOTER, OKAY? JUST SHUT IT! NO MORE! STOP YOUR CONSTANT WHINING!! JUST. BE. QUIET!!"
I really wanted to shout that, right in her pretty little third grade face. Because I had HAD it! But instead I took a few deep breathes, and I took the time to think about Aislynn. I thought to myself, why is she acting this way? Her scooter doesn't mean all that much to her for her to be making such a fuss over it.
So I grabbed her hand and held it while we walked. She immediately stopped the complaining, and we just walked holding hands for a while. Just holding my hand calmed her. And after a minute or so I asked her a few things about school, about recess, about the friends she was playing with at recess. I just started making small talk with her, and she began talking and talking. Sure enough, it came out in our conversation that there was a boy in her class who had made an unkind comment about her. He didn't say anything TO her, but a friend of hers told her that he said she was "dumb".
So right away the Mother Bear in me wants to find that boy and beat him down. Just kidding. But still. Of course I'm not happy that some kid said something unkind about my little girl, and that it upset her. But then the next thing that made me angry was the fact that her little "friend" told her what he had said! I know it's the age and all that, but I believe in the THINK before you SPEAK rule:
And if the answer is NO to any of these questions....then you don't say it! So if a person tells you that your best friend looks awful in her new eye glasses, is that something you are going to share with your best friend? What would be the point of sharing that? First of all, it's probably not true. It's just one person's opinion. Second, it's definitely not helpful. Will it uplift your best friend at all to hear that someone said that about her? No, it won't, so it's not inspiring. Is it necessary for her to know that so-and-so thinks she looks awful in her new glasses? No. Finally, is it a kind thing to tell her? Absolutely not. So this would be something that you'd keep to yourself because the comment was not meant for your best friend's ears.
Anyway, so part of me was a bit peeved that her friend told her that some boy said she was dumb. Why did she have to go and tell her that?!! I can just imagine Aislynn's facial expression after hearing that. She's such a sweet girl and wants nothing but to make friends, and being the new girl in school that can be a bit of a challenge in itself. But then to hear something like that? She must have been crushed. Well, this explained why she was acting up so much about that scooter. It wasn't really about the scooter at all. She just had nervous energy and unsure feelings and was probably not looking forward to seeing that boy in class that day.
We ended up having a nice talk on the way to school, and I told her that she doesn't know for sure that the boy said that because he did not say it directly to her and she did not hear him say it, or maybe her friend heard it wrong, or maybe it was said in a joking way (not that being "dumb" is ever a joke, but still....it could have been said in a different context) and after a while, she was smiling and I could tell she was more at ease. Anyway, she ended up having a great day that day, and that boy actually was very nice to her in class and didn't seem at all mean. So maybe he really didn't say that? Who knows!
Looking back on that morning, I am so glad that I did not lose my tempter with her. Instead of reacting in anger because of my own frustrations, I was able to keep my cool and think: what is behind this negative behavior of hers? If I had reacted harshly to her, then she would have stopped the whining but would have been upset. And I would have had a crappy day knowing that I lost my cool with her. Nothing positive would have come out of that. I would have missed out on that important conversation we had ... and the opportunity to help her!