I hesitate to even write about this directly on the heels of that last post - the post about which not one single reader decided to give me the benefit of the doubt. Instead of posting an angry rebuttal (which I've already written and saved to drafts), I've decided to just talk about what happened tonight with the hope that by giving you all a second chance, you'll redeem yourselves.
Tonight I experienced my absolute most horrifying moment as a mother.
Earlier today I got word from the preschool that tonight was the back-to-school ice cream social where we could go and meet the teachers and some of the kids. Plied with copious amounts of mac 'n cheese, Genoa zonked out on the way there and was perfectly delighted to sleep in her stroller for most of the event. Alex was super excited to play with the other kids and after barely grazing his chocolate ice cream cone, he handed it to me and ran off to play tag with the big boys.
Sadly, no one's actually explained tag to him before, so he had no idea what was going on. He thought the big kids were just running around hitting each other and of course he joined right in. Eventually, Alex was tagged and when he went to go slug an eight-year-old, he got shoved hard and landed on the pavement, ending up with a bloody elbow and a face streaming with tears. Dave and I saw the entire thing play out, so we knew he'd just bitten off more than he could chew and we did our best to placate him while explaining that when you play rough with the big kids, they play rough right back. It was totally his fault.
It was also a good time to ditch the big kids and go meet his teachers. Alex cried that his elbow hurt for most of the short walk from the parking lot to his classroom. I knew from the outset that he was exhausted. He was up at 6:30 this morning and even though he started getting sleepy early in the afternoon, I pushed through his nap so I could finish my errands.
When we got to the classroom, he barely even acknowledged his teacher, which should've been an immediate red flag for me. When he met his old teacher, Miss Virginia, he would NOT stop chatting her up and asking her about the class and the kids and the toys. He's usually SO outgoing that when he went straight for the train table tonight without saying anything, I should've known he wasn't being himself. Fortunately, he had met his teacher the last time we were at school (she was the one for whom he counted to 20), so I figured she'd understand that he was just tired. In fact, at one point he looked so out of it that I commented to her about how tired he was and how it was definitely bed time already.
After fifteen or so minutes of checking out the train table and the awesome construction bench in the classroom and then sitting there staring off into space while I completed the craft the teacher had laid out (a star with his name on it in sticker letters that was almost too difficult for ME to complete because I have no fingernails), I told him it was time to go. He disagreed, to put it lightly, and when I asked him to pick up the tools and put them back under the tool bench, he said NO and walked over to the train table to keep playing.
As if that wasn't bad enough, when I took him by the arm to MAKE him pick up the toys, he HIT ME, batting my arms away and I yelled "HEY!" at him in my angriest voice, right there in front of his two preschool teachers, the very same preschool teachers who will be deciding whether or not he gets to stay in the pre-k 4 class after two weeks. I literally forced him to pick up the toys before stomping his ass out of there and apologizing to the teacher saying, "We'll see you on Wednesday when he hopefully won't be so tired and cranky!"
But inside I died. I can't imagine being more embarrassed by my own child. He HIT ME in front of his teachers. Alex NEVER hits me. It was a lesson he learned the hard way.
The part that makes me feel the worst is that this isn't how Alex usually acts! I'm honestly mortified by the idea that they think I allow him to behave that way. It completely ruined my day and my night and I haven't been able to think about anything since. Alex can be the most friendly, outgoing boy. At his last school, he was the youngest in his class by months and yet it was obvious that he was the teacher's pet. Everyone loved him and in the ten months he attended the school, I never received even one single behavior complaint about him. Tonight he gave off a severe PROBLEM CHILD vibe and I only hope the teachers will forgive and forget it because that's just not who he is.
It was one of those moments I will replay over and over again in my mind wishing I could forget it ever happened. In hindsight, he was really, really tired and when I grabbed his arm to drag him over to pick up the toys, he was probably worried about his hurt elbow and didn't want me pulling on him. When we got home, we put him straight to bed without a story or a snack or so much as brushing his teeth and he fell asleep within about thirty seconds of his head hitting the pillow. But still!
I am completely mortified.