The dreaded return to school
Hooray. We've survived. It's back to school for another year and there have been no major dramas.
I was a bit worried leading up to Monday morning. Bright Eyes was making gruff loud noises about school being rubbish and for losers and was saying things like "I Refuse to go back. I just Refuse!"
Knowing that prayer was going to help, I first of all said 'thankyou' to God for the refusals and the grumpies and got onto Facebook to enlist friends to pray. Maybe 30 or more people prayed for him and the next morning he was grumpy, but malleable and able to be dressed.
The best thing was an invitation from a friend with a little boy he quite likes to go down to the tennis courts and have a hit before school started. He felt very cool and important going off to play with J and I left him there with them to walk up to class after they finished.
I felt great until he came home - grumpy and pouty and miserable.
"How was school?" I said.
"Terrible. I hate it. School is rubbish. I refuse to go," was his no holds barred reply.
Oh. And then he hit me with, "No one wants to hang around with me. They all think I'm a pest." It was like a blow to the stomach and I felt terrible for the rest of the day. I could hardly be thankful for anything. I felt quite demolished.
I wanted to come on the blog and discuss why I felt so bad, but I didn't have time, so I thought about it in my head. What was the real reason I felt so bad? I realised that I was thinking that his whole life might be friendless and miserable, that he would never improve, and that I was terrified of him being miserable at school forever.
So I started to look at it logically. His whole life will probably not be friendless and miserable. He's certainly happy at home. And he does have a couple of 'friends' that he likes and who like him on a particular sort of level. It's quite likely that he'll find people like that wherever he goes. As for improvement, why would I just assume that he'll stop improving right now when I've seen so many improvements over the years? There's no reason to think that he can't improve more and more over time. Yes, he might be miserable at school, but that's also not set in stone. I mean, if it came to it, I could take him out of school and teach him at home. There are always other options. And I can go and talk to the school and see how we can help him to feel happier there too. I felt slightly better when I went to bed.
This morning I was expecting a fight, but I remembered that kids generally cooperate with their parents - on a vibe level. So I left my anxiety at the door, didn't talk about school and just played with him. We kept a lot of humour in the morning and I did a lot of teasing and tickling. I dressed him without him realising that he was being dressed, and somehow AP got his shoes on. I didn't see that one. I asked him when he wanted to go to school and negotiated a 9.15 start, but by the time 8.47 came around, he was ready to go, so over we went.
In the afternoon, he looked as happy as I've seen him for a while. "Yay," I thought, "it's been a good day." So I asked him about it.
"It was terrible. School stinks. I Refuse to go," he said.
And then I realised. He has a script in his head that school is rubbish. So I'm not going to give him an opportunity to bring it out. For the next few weeks I'm just not going to ask how his day was. If he wants to tell me things here and there, I'll comment, but I'm going to keep my questions to myself and just go with his demeanour. Plus, I won't have to deal with the miserable feelings I get when he tells me he's unhappy.
So, I'm thankful for the relatively painless return to school. I'm thankful for no major tantrums and for the fact that I don't have to bribe him out of the house and across the road anymore. I'm thankful for wisdom and friends and prayer, and the God who answers it.