Back in September, on the first day of school, Sean bounced right into the classroom and started playing with the train set. He didn’t look back or take notice when I left the room, so I left feeling smugly satisfied with how well it went. I flashed “poor you” glances at the mothers whom I passed in the hall on my way out, sobbing mothers pulling unwilling children down the hall like stubborn mules, mother’s whose children aren’t as secure and well adjusted as mine. Tsk.
And that was the last time I took Sean to school without incident.
Anytime I mention the word “school” the whining and negotiating begins.
“Oh I don’t like school! I don’t want to go to school! I have too many important things to do at home!” he informs me. “Oh really?” I ask, “Like what?”
“I have to play with you Mommy!”
I should probably stop here to admit — I am fun. So there’s no countering that argument.
Nonetheless. He needs to go to school two days a week because I have important things to do at home too. Like blog. Or go to TJMaxx.
To no avail, I have tried everything I can think of to foster the idea that school is fun. “Sean!” I encourage, “There are little people to play with at school – people who are not in their 40s and peri-menopausal!” Even given that, he remains convinced that it’s more fun at home. I am quite certain that most of the dramatics are for me. I am certain that once I leave, he has swell time.
To make the drop off a little less stressful (for me), at his insistence, I carry him into the school. I carry him, his coat, his backpack and whatever other crap I’m hauling into the school that day. And it’s a lot — more than my middle-aged joints appreciate. And I usually try to soothe and comfort him as I carry him hoping that he will brighten by the time we reach the door to his classroom. All the while he digs his nails into my neck and pretends to sob. All the while I suffer “poor you” glances. And if there is anything that will lift your spirits and bolster your confidence as a parent, it’s walking away as your kid screams for you while the other parents cast their eyes downward as they pass you in the hall.
Be that as it may.
One day recently I had had enough. The soothing-calm-super-nanny approach wasn’t working, so I opted for tough love. On that particular day, I was laden down like a pack mule with schtuff and I simply could not carry him. But I could drag him. And so I did. I no longer cared what anyone thought. He of course wailed and flailed the entire way, which drew gasps and disapproving looks from the tennis-skirt-wearing moms, but frankly, I did not care because with my elbows I’m not playing tennis anymore anyway. And then at 2:30, when I picked him up, we did it in the reverse.
As I was dragging him across the parking lot like a drunken cowboy riding on his spurs, a tennis mom, who has never once spoken to me or acknowledged my existence, flashed me a Crest white strips smile and oh so helpfully observed, “Hey, didn’t I see this same scene on the way in this morning?” And boy was that edifying.
Lucky for her I was armed with only an empty backpack and not my tennis racket. Because I still have a pretty mean backhand.