Before I leave for school in the morning, I wake up my four year old. Today, I woke him up as I normally do by singing “Baby Beluga,” turning off his sound machine, and rubbing his back. He normally just scrambles into my arms, and I lay him in our bed to watch some TV as he fully wakes up. This morning, however, when I woke him, he started whimpering. I asked him what was wrong, and he cried, “I am want hot dogs!”
I started laughing and gently told him we don’t have any hot dogs but maybe we can get some for dinner knowing full well I have parent teacher conferences tonight and Dad will be in charge of dinner.
School carried on fairly well. We had an adjusted schedule due to conferences, and I decided to fill the time with watching The Twilight Zone episode of “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.” Some classes were more into it than others as usual, and while we will be doing some writing based on what we watched, it will probably wait until after Spring Break. I felt extra grumpy today. Well, grumpy isn’t the right word, touchy or sensitive are probably more accurate. I try to keep my emotions in check as every teacher does, but some days it is just too much. Some days it feels like a personal attack when students blatantly talk over you even after you’ve asked them to listen for just a few flipping minutes. The logical part of me knows it is not necessarily personal, but today the emotional part of me won. I may have flipped my lid a few times. So when an announcement came on at the end of the day that “staff could attend an optional staff meeting right after school,” I opted to not go in the name of self-care. Today that self-care looked like a Jimmy Johns sandwich and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I had 2 hours to myself at home before the kids got out of school. I intended to enjoy it.
Right when I walked in the door, however, my cell phone rang. My middle son’s school was on the caller ID so I picked up. It was his teacher. She explained Declan was upset about something, but didn’t want to talk to her about it. He requested to talk to me. I had a feeling about what it could be and filled her in before she gave him the phone.
“Mom?” he said choking back his tears.
“Honey, what’s wrong?”
“Don’t freak out OK Mom?” At this, I realized it was not what I thought it was.
“Okaaayyy,” I said hesitantly, “Just tell me what it is.”
“I have been swearing at recess since 1st grade.”
It took all of my strength not to burst out laughing as he rambled on about another kid daring him to and he just kept doing it for apparently years now. He was suddenly struck with a strong sense of guilt because he also stated, “He knew it was wrong and had to tell me.”
I was baffled at where this came from. He hears his mom swear a good amount at home. And while I do not condone swearing at school or in front of your parents and grandparents, I have never been one to chastise those who swear openly. I didn’t question his reason for telling me this of course, I simply offered my assurance that he can fix it now and to not swear at school and that it really is OK. I told him I loved him, he said the same and then hung up on me.
It was all very bizarre.
I worry about his reaction to the guilt of swearing, but I am very glad and relieved he felt he could to come to me to tell me about something that was bothering him.
Perhaps I should be a better role model by working on swearing less at home too. Damn it.