The other day I was sitting in the office at the kids’ school waiting to speak with the principal. While I was waiting, the kid’s dad’s first grade teacher walked into the office.
Although she’s retired from this school, she may be working as a substitute teacher. She may even be volunteering her time at the school. Teacher’s are like that you know. They never stop being a teacher and they never lose their dedication to working with kids, even in retirement.
So, we exchanged greetings and I gave her a brief update on the kids and then the principal was ready to see me.
As I walked to the principal’s office it suddenly happened! You know, that deja vu thing. That feeling that this is all familiar but you don’t know why. Only, unlike the typical deja vu experience, I knew exactly why this was familiar.
I had been there, done that, same school, meeting with the principal about my kid’s behavior–but 25 years ago when the kid’s dad was a student at this school..
It’s like deja vu all over again!
Let me explain why I was at the kid’s school on this day waiting to talk with the principal. The social worker at the school had called and said that Kaleb had ripped a big hole in his jeans and his underpants were showing and could I bring some replacement clothing for him.
What the school didn’t know was that Kaleb was regularly ripping holes in all his jeans and on that day we sent him to school wearing jeans with holes in them to teach him a lesson. What we didn’t anticipate was that he would, in fact, rip an even bigger hole in his jeans.
Apparently, the lesson we thought we were teaching him about tearing up his nice clothes became an opportunity for him to tear up his nice clothes even more!
It’s not that he’s intentionally trying to destroy his clothes. He’s rubbing against his desk or playground equipment to create static electricity so he can touch another kid and shock them. The seam of his jeans catches on some protrusion on his desk or on the playground equipment when he rubs up against it and makes a small hole. Then, he habitually picks at the hole until it becomes a bigger hole.
We don’t allow him to tear up his clothes at home and I’m fairly certain this behavior is not allowed at school. But his teachers may not observe him making holes in his clothing or picking at them and making them bigger. But, they see the holes in his clothing after he has made them into large tears and his underwear are showing. Then, the school thinks he accidentally ripped his clothing and calls me to bring a replacement.
I decided that when I took his replacement clothing to the school I would meet with the principal and explain what was happening to Kaleb’s clothing. I hoped she would alert his teachers and help me get this behavior under control at school before he tore up his whole wardrobe.
So, while I’m sitting there in the office waiting to see the principal about Kaleb’s behavior, his dad’s first grade teacher walked in and the deja vu thing happened.
I suppose it’s not really deja vu. It’s more like some sort of cosmic irony.
How colossally ironic that I’m sitting there waiting to see the principal, same school as my first-generation kid but 25 years later with my second-generation kid.
Is this a 25-year-long Groundhog Day experience that I need to keep repeating until I learn my lesson?
Have I not learned anything about parenting over the last 25 years?
Perhaps another Yogi-ism is the best explanation: “In baseball, you don’t know nothing.” That seems to be true about parenting as well, at least for me.
So, I’ll just keep trying and maybe over the next 25 years I’ll figure out this parenting thing. You never know, one day I may have to do some great-grandparenting…
After all, “it ain’t over ’til it’s over!”