Friday, March 09, 2007

A tale of two stories

Yesterday was a trying day as a parent and made me silently wish I had never ventured into motherhood. With a slight twinge of guilt I hoped a gypsy caravan would miraculously come ambling up my driveway and offer to take the girls with them for a minimal fee.

A little background: Unruly is quite gregarious, outspoken, sometimes obnoxious and often has a hard time controlling herself. Her ears, more often than not, are not her "listening ears," they are her "ignore everyone and not give a whit" ears. We deal with this daily, at school, at home and especially on the bus where she can't seem to keep her butt in the seat or her hands to herself. I've had talks with the principal about her bus behavior and she has missed a few recesses because of the behavior. Nothing says "Problem kid" than having to eat lunch in the principal's office. So, it's a regular, daily battle that I'm running out of ideas to solve.

This is Wild's story, near verbatim: "She punched this little boy in the face on the bus and made him bleed. It wasn't just a little bit of blood, mom, he was GUSHING blood everywhere, like a big puddle on the floor. And she got in big trouble and is going to get kicked off the bus. She is SUCH a brat."

Of course, my immediate reaction, knowing Unruly as well as I do, is to believe Wild's story. It's not completely out of the realm of possibility and I was one pissed off momma.

Unruly's story is as follows: Yes, she did make a little boy on the bus bleed, but she didn't do it on purpose. They were rough housing around, she swung her backpack at him and smacked him in the face with it. When it hit him it knocked his loose tooth all the way out, resulting in quite a bit of blood. She was very upset about it and obviously sorry, which is a good sign. Her story made more sense to me than Wild's after hearing it and talking to her. While Unruly is sometimes spastic and overly energetic, she is never mean, ever, and I have a hard time imagining her actually punching someone out of spite or meanness, no matter how mad she gets.

We talked about rough housing and playing on the bus and hurting other people, even accidentally. I asked her why she behaves in my car, but not on the bus, she said she gets bored on the bus but not in my car because I have music to listen to in the car. And, I hit upon an idea, maybe it was a bad one, but, it could end up being the key that keeps her in her seat on the bus or, it could be the worst idea I ever employed.

I allowed the 6-year-old to take her MP3 player to school today. Relax, it's my old one and the buttons don't work quite right any more, the 6-year-old did not get a brand-spanking new MP3 player. I allowed her to take it with the admonishment (and a pinky swear) that she would not take it out of her backpack at school, only on the bus. If she takes it out at school her teacher will confiscate it, and if her teacher confiscates it, I will take it FOREVER.

"Can I borrow it sometimes if you take it?" she asked.

" It will be mine, forever. You won't get it back. You won't get to look at it, touch it or use it ever again," I responded.

So I wait, with much trepidation, and hope that 1) she kept her patootey in the bus seat and quietly listened to her music and 2) she remembered our pinky swear and left the thing in her backpack throughout the day.

A pretty big responsibility for her. A long stretch of nervewracking waiting for me. I need a drink. A margarita sure sounds good...

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