The email from school… similar to the call from school – the heart drop that follows seeing the school’s name on the caller ID – it’s not what a parent wants to see in their inbox. So today’s email from Brogan’s preschool director went something like this…
I told Brogan I was going to email you to let you know about his behavior today walking to and from the library. He was refusing to acknowledge whether or not he heard us talking to him, calling his name, etc. On the way back he was walking across an area closer to the road so I called his name to stop. He didn’t respond so I called it much louder (Brogan!) while moving over to stop him. I told him it was very dangerous to ignore people when you are walking down the sidewalk because he could get hurt. I love Brogan. He is a sweet child who wants to please people but he also has been stubborn recently and refuses to acknowledge us when we talk to him. Could you please speak to him about working on that for me?
I’ll tell you, it’s one thing when they don’t listen to you… but it’s another when they don’t listen for others. Although I shouldn’t be surprised because this is the same Brogan we are constantly trying to wrangle. It is upsetting and it’s scary that his disobedience could really get him hurt. During the car ride home, I started the conversation of disappointment and scolding, to which Brogan responded, “I don’t want to talk about it!!” (Is he 16??) But talk we did, both Blake and I until we felt he finally listened. And then it was time for the punishment… and since nothing has seemed to work, we went back to the drawing board.
Blake’s (mastermind) punishment was that Brogan had to sit on the couch for the entire evening. No playing outside, none of his TV shows, no toys, no helping mommy cook. He tried to push the boundaries, but Blake was firm. Blake stayed in the living with him the entire time to make sure he wouldn’t get one over on us. And despite Brogan’s pleads and trying every possible angle he could think of to get off the couch (pretending to fall off, needing to throw something away, extending his leg just so far so that his big toe would touch the ground, etc., etc.,), that kid stayed on the couch. When dinnertime rolled around, I have never seen him so excited to eat. And subsequently, I have never seen him so excited to take a bath, and then to go to bed. What a turn of events. These “transitions” from one nightly routine to another are always difficult, but I suppose for an active 3-year-old, when the alternative is sitting on the couch, anything else is fun. Brogan was begging for bed 30 minutes early, but we made him stick out the couch confinement until his normal bedtime. And to continue the antagonizing, Blake insisted that he be the one to bathe Brogan, dress him and take him to bed (all things that only mommy can do on any normal night) – and we continued to explain that this is what happens when you don’t listen to grown-ups.
And in a last-ditch effort to butter me up, Brogan drops a couple of lines on me right before bed.
Brogan: Mommy, I love you. Did you know that?
Me: Yes, buddy, I know, and I love you too.
Brogan: Mommy, you’re a great mom!
Me: Thank you, buddy.
Brogan: Mommy, you are a hard worker-girl! You work so hard, but you don’t have wear a hard hat like the hard-worker men.
This kid just makes me smile sometimes, even in the midst of all his shenanigans.
I emailed the teacher back, apologized for his poor behavior and ensured her that we spoke to him, punished him, and that we were trying. Any notifications of misbehavior at school will mean the couch for Brogan. Crossing my fingers and saying a prayer that some part of the tot-torture he endured tonight will sink in and he’ll start listening. And if he doesn’t, it’s going to be a long, long week…