Green Eggs and Suspension

May 3 2011


Oh, Aden.

Oh, dear, sweet Aden.

Oh, dear, sweet, suspended-from-school-because-you-just-can’t-stop-hitting-kids Aden.

[Sidenote: The problem with blogging is that there are no sound effects.  Please sing the Darth Vader theme now.  Dun dun dun, du du dun, du du dun…  aaaaannnnddd cue James Earl Jones’ voice.  (I’m getting a kick out of imagining you sitting at your computer channeling your deep, Vader voice.)]

Once upon a time,

a long, long time ago,

in the ancient time known as last Thursday,…

[OK.  You can stop now.  I don’t want you to hurt yourself.  But thanks for playing.]

…I told you about how we were turning a corner with my biting, kicking, hitting daughter.

But I didn’t knock on a giant, luck-giving, behavior-modifying piece of wood.  The way I knew I should have.  Because I told myself that knocking on wood is a silly superstition.

Now, I’m not saying it’s not a superstition.  Just like I’m not saying that I throw salt over my left shoulder every time I spill it.

But I am saying that a whole heap of wood-knocking couldn’t have hurt.

Poor Aden.  I can’t help but think I’ve failed her.

Oh, sure.  I could’ve relied on involved parenting, instead.  Taught her appropriate boundaries.  Discussed feelings.  Learned alternate frustration-management techniques.

I could’ve had Aden in social skills classes.  Encouraged playdates.  Worked with an army of teachers, specialists, administrators, and family members.

OH WAIT!  I did all those things.

Which leads me to the conclusion that wood-knocking is clearly what I’ve been missing.

Well, I’m here to tell you, I will not make that mistake twice.

I am commencing the knocking of wood immediately.

I am going to have wood everywhere I go.  In my purse.  In my car.  In my pocket.  Just in case I say something too good to be true, and I need to knock on it.

Is that wood in your pocket, Beth, or are you just… nevermind.  (Sorry about that.)

Wood knocking is becoming a permanent part of my repertoire.

And so is head beating.

My head.  Not others’.

I will be beating my head against a wall at the earliest opportunity.  Because I’m almost entirely sure that will be more productive than what I’ve been doing.

If anyone wants to join me, you’re invited.

I’m going to find a great, big, concrete wall and line moms up from here to Indonesia.  It’s going to be a grand, international, community-building event.

(Note to newbies:  Please don’t feel intimidated if my head beating techniques are more advanced than yours.  I’ve had lots and lots of practice, but beginners are always welcome.  We head beaters are an inclusive crowd.)

Additionally, in bad but thoroughly expected news, I’m a terrible example to my children.

This was evidenced by telling Abby that Aden was suspended from school.

You know that surprised-and-horrified-but-delighted smile people sometimes get?  Like the one we have when we watch America’s Funniest Home Videos where boys get their boy parts smashed by errant baseballs, a toddler’s noggin, or an open-legged fall onto a fence?  That smile that begins with your eyebrows going up, up, up until they pull your mouth into an unintended grimace of pure, horrified joy that you just can’t help?

Yeah.  That smile.

That was Abby’s smile the whole time I was telling her about her naughty sister.

And then the giggling began.  “Hehehe.  I’m sorry, Mom.  Hehehe.  I’m really sorry.  Hehehe.  I’m sorry, Mom.  I just can’t seem to stop laughing.  Hehehe.”  And then I started laughing.  And we didn’t stop for a while.

But Aden didn’t see us laughing, and you’re not allowed to tell her about it, either.

Because, as far as Aden knows, this is Very Serious.  And, despite my laughter and self-mocking, she’s right.

The Consequences Shoe has Dropped.

Aden has lost all of her screen-time (that Most Terrible of American consequences) for two whole weeks.  Seriously.  I’m that mean.

She has no playdates.  Although, honestly, if someone invited her over, I’d relax that in a heartbeat.  I’m certain people are gonna knock down our door after this, so I should prepare myself for the flood of invitations.

And, of course, there’s the suspension consequence.  Which was yesterday.  When she got to spend the school day hanging out in her bedroom.  With the two most qualified jailers I know: my father the former Marine, and my mother-in-law the former 3rd grade teacher.  I’m still grinning… the poor girl never stood a chance of escape.  And, to her credit, other than sneaking into my room once (and Grandma caught her in the act – HA!),  she didn’t try.

I suppose the whole suspension thing shouldn’t have taken me by surprise.  I knew she was on her way to earning it.  It’s just, well, we’d made in-roads.  Progress.  That, and we’ve never had a suspended kid, so I guess on some level I thought it wouldn’t happen.  Which is a really, really, ridiculously silly thing for me, aka Beth “oh, I won’t be the one to have twins instead a singleton 4th child” Mother of FIVE, to think.

I should be the vanguard in the “It CAN Happen To Me” parade.

Yesterday, Suspension Day, I tried to keep an open mind.  I didn’t want to slam my suspension adventure prematurely.

I mean, I certainly don’t want to be that spindly-legged, pot-bellied guy from Green Eggs and Ham.  You know… the one who didn’t like green eggs and ham just ’cause he’d never tried it?

What if I loved suspension?

I might like it in a box.  I might like it with a fox.

I might like it in the rain.  I might like in on a train.

Yeah.  For the record, I didn’t.

But at least I tried it.

And Dr. Seuss clearly teaches us that sometimes poetry is the only way to truly express one’s feelings.

I think that’s especially true of the much-maligned, oft-overlooked limerick.

Yep – I’m pretty sure a limerick is the perfect way to capture the depth and breadth of suspension and where the heck we go from here.

So here it is.

a limerick by Beth
Well, this is a whole new dimension;
A kid with an all day detention.
I don’t like what you did.
But I still love you, kid.
So now the time’s come for redemption.
Aden, may I make a suggestion?
Avoid any more Mom Blog Mentions.
I am tired of this.
As I know you are, Sis.
Be done with the school suspensions.


In conclusion, be done, Aden.  Be done.

And I love you forever and always.

(And I’ll visit you in jail if that’s where you end up.)

(But don’t end up there.  Because jail isn’t good.  Be done.)