Green Eggs and Suspension

 

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.

Suspension
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.)

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
18 comments
  1. […] share of apology note writing at our house. Just off the top of my head, our topics have included hitting, head butting, face flicking, and nut punching. Not to make you jealous, but we’re very, […]

  2. […] me – Killing Me! – because my baby girl was coming off of a couple of creative school suspensions, and she was headed to a week away at Girls Camp, and I didn’t know how it would go. I […]

  3. […] Aden hasn’t been suspended, not even once, since school started 7 weeks ago. And what better way to reward non-suspension […]

  4. […] my kids did not get suspended.  Not even once!  I know that’s true because Miss Aden came home thrilled on Friday, ran up to me, hugged my […]

  5. […] feel free to join my attempt to break the Guinness World Record for Knocking on Wood.  It’s takes a wood-knocking village, folks.  A giant, wood-knocking village. Share: Digg […]

  6. After Action Report DTG 2011 05 02 0830 -1130

    Dialogue with detainee follows:

    0945

    “Here are 3 granola bars. Pick one.”
    [Item selected]
    “Papa… can you open this for me?”
    [Opened granola bar]
    “Thank you Papa.”
    “I like the ‘thank you’.”

    1015

    “Papa…Papa… PAPA!”
    “What?”
    “I have a loose tooth!”
    “What does that have to do with being suspended and spending the day in your room?”

    1130

    [Changing of the guard; Grandma on deck.]

    “Good bye Aden.”
    “Good bye Papa.”

    Report concludes.

    1. Thanks for your report, Marine.

      At ease.

      Dismissed.

  7. Skill with limericks respect does incur,
    but I must say I strongly prefer
    that you from now on write
    (don’t take this as a fight)
    in Iambic Pentameter.

    Or you could agree to be confined
    to free verse (or haikus would be fine).
    Were you to ask me why,
    this would be my reply:
    “Of all poems, the limerick is mine”.

    =)

    1. I can’t do haiku.
      Holly in Japan reads this.
      She can spot a fake.

      And, um, I had to look up iambic pentameter on google. I quit. Which doesn’t mean you win! It just means I’m a quitter. 🙂

  8. It’s not that I don’t empathize-I most certainly do, and I am sitting here with crossed fingers hoping and praying that my days of suspensions and detentions are far behind me, now that my “problem child” is pushing 30. But silly me, starting over. Hopefully my dear sweet angel sent from God in my middle age will NOT follow his brother’s adolescent footsteps.
    But this whole post, what I was thinking was that you could kill two birds with one stone by banging your head against wood.
    And you rock the Limerick.

    1. Banging my head against wood!

      Now, why didn’t I think of that?

      Two birds, one stone, indeed. The perfect Mommy activity.

  9. Yes, sadly I went downn the suspension road this year, with my KINDERGARTNER! TWICE! Her poor distraught principal sat in a meeting with me and said he had never had to consider alternative school for a kindergartner before… way to make an impression… we decided that the next time there was an incident she would get a swat at school… and if something didn’t change and quick she’d be in alternative school with big bad older kids… One swat was all it took… green smileys the rest of the year… Wish she was that great at home, and she even manages to find her way to the potty at school, a feat that she has a great deal of trouble with here AT HOME. Oh wait, before the second suspension was in school suspension which ended when my sweet little girl told the ISS teacher that if she didn’t stop putting her referral in her back pack she’d punch her in the face. Oh yes… the joys. I too would like in on the mass head to wall exercise….

    1. BEST line = “which ended when my sweet little girl told the ISS teacher that if she didn’t stop putting her referral in her back pack she’d punch her in the face”

      You, my friend, get a primo spot in the head banging event. I’ll bring the punch. 🙂

  10. I have some wonderful brick walls all set up just waiting for your international head beaters friendship association to reach me.

    Sorry to hear that Aden has been home when she should be at school. I can think of no better reward for her than a day in time out with the Old Marine and the Former 3rd-grade Teacher. Beth, seriously, you have the perfect parents to help with kids!

    Hope she’ll be back in school, minding her Ps&Qs soon.

  11. Send her to Alaska. We will take our turn.

  12. Sorry. Been there. For a week. Last week, in fact. Now on my way to visit the new day treatment facility. It’s called Oasis. Ha on me. The end.

    1. No “ha” on you. You and your kiddo are in my thoughts and prayers all week. Hoping for wonderful things for her and a great big ol’ glass (bottle?) of wine for you.

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