Yesterday had a lot of small life lessons for my kid. I have no idea if any of this is sinking in, but it’s amazing sometimes how much work parenting is when you’re trying really hard to do what’s right with whatever you have. It’s really so much work.
In the morning, we were almost late for school because he was screwing around with his toys instead of getting dressed. So he got a lecture on the way there about how it’s really important to learn to prioritize and do the “must do” things first, and then if there is time after to do things you “like to do,” you can enjoy those things freely, without your Mom yelling at you that you’re going to be late because you didn’t get ready yet and it’s time to leave.
When we got to school, the custodian saw us approaching the (locked/secure) doors and came over and let us in. They aren’t supposed to do that, but they know me, because I always talk to them and I made sure they got food last year during the late nights of parent-teacher conferences, since they also had to work late. Custodians are important. They all know who I am and who my kid is. You never know what circumstances might arise where they might be able to help your kid out, like if they were in the bathroom being bullied or if they see the kid’s coat laying on the ground. Plus these are really nice people who work damned hard at a largely thankless job in keeping this enormous school of D’s running, clean, and nice. They mop and wax the floors. They clean up the endless garbage strewn everywhere. And of course, the bathrooms. So we had a nice chat about the weather and how hot it is, and how it would probably be snowing in two weeks, ha ha. #ohioweather
Then I worked my ass off all day as I am DROWNING in work at my job right now. But I also had to set a reminder to figure out what I’m ordering from the school fundraiser wish book things, review the packages for school pictures and negotiate with the Ex about how we would split the costs and photos, make arrangements for a playdate, research an upcoming fall festival and put it on my calendar so I’d have something fun to take D to in a couple of weeks when I get him back, and ask the teacher for an extra math homework book so me and the ex would both have one and we don’t have to try to remember to pass it back and forth every week. And I went to physical therapy, where Skeletor continues to try to fix my fucked up hamstring and I promise to do my exercises, which I sometimes do, but most of the time I don’t because I’m too tired and busy.
When I came to pick D up at after-care, I had a nice chat with the ladies there about whatever, and then said hi to a kid who was in D’s kindergarten class who is mentally challenged. “How did you know my name!” he said with wonder and awe. I told him I remembered his sweet smile from Mrs. So and So’s class, when he was D’s classmate there. He waved bye to both of us as we left and as we left, D said, “Mom, do you know EVERYONE at my school?” I kind of laughed. I said I had gone out of my way to try to get to know people there, because I want to be involved and know what’s happening with him. As we walked to the car, I pointed out that this is how I can be involved and work to try to make things as good for him as I can. Some people have a lot of money and can give their kids a giant house and a huge yard to play in, which I know he really desires and which I can’t make happen. Some parents take their kids to Disney to create special memories with them, which I also can’t do (“I think Disneyworld is stupid,” he said, which I love him for). But this is what I have, and what I can do. I’m social, and I’m pretty good at being social. I can talk to anyone and, by being nice to the ladies at after-care, for example, they might let him get away with an infraction or error in judgement that they might not let other kids get away with, instead of suspending him from the program. (which led to me defining “infraction” for him, and “error,” and I made him use both in a sentence. This is also what I have to offer.)
This dovetailed nicely with a conversation about why he had to not only do his homework, but try to do his best work while at school as well, because it’s not just about what they’re learning, but that school is also a way for him to practice getting instructions from someone and then completing a job, which is what the working world is about. And that being a better worker with a great job means you get to do more of the fun stuff in life, thus bringing it all back around to our conversation that morning about working first (and doing good work), and then playing.
Every day isn’t full of lessons like this. Some days are just me telling him to stop standing on the furniture 100 times, or to wipe his hands on his napkin and not his shirt, or my exasperation at him breaking yet another thing of mine, or, like yesterday, receiving the new record of “Stupidest and Meanest Mom In The Universe” because I wouldn’t let him eat ALL the candy that came home in someone’s birthday goodie bag. I think this is kind of like Miss Universe, except instead of parading around in a crown, you parade around the apartment with your wine in a coffee mug with penguins on it, because that’s the only thing that’s clean, and instead of a tiara, you wear yoga pants, and instead of a swimsuit, you try to find some underwear that aren’t frayed and have the elastic all still attached to them.
Is it 5 o’clock yet?