Posted on | November 26, 2013 | 8 Comments
Yesterday, when I went to pick J up from school, his teacher met me at the door with a concerned look on her face. She motioned for J to wait inside the classroom and she pulled me aside to chat. Before she got ten seconds into the spiel I was on edge… mostly because she looked at me with complete concern and asked:
“Is everything okay at home?”
Just five little words. Just a sentence that shouldn’t be bad or good or accusatory or congratulatory. Just five little words. And yet those five little words had the power to almost reduce me to tears; to a blubbering mess of a mother wondering what she’d done now to somehow screw up the little life that was hers to protect. The conversation continued, with his teacher telling me that J’s been aggressive for the past week, hitting and pushing, knocking people down. And it culminated in an incident at lunch yesterday when another child tried to take J’s fork and J poked him with it on the face.
He poked a child with a fork.
And as she talked, my sweet child flashed before my eyes, from birth to now all snuggly and sweet and full of happiness and all I could hear behind her words was “What on Earth have you done to your child lately to make him so unhappy at school?!”
She wasn’t blaming me. She was genuinely trying to figure out if there was an explanation for what could only be called TOTALLY out of character behavior for my normally well-behaved little boy. But all I could think was that yes, something must be wrong at home for this to have happened. Surely there was something wrong with me and my parenting and my housekeeping or feeding routine or SOMETHING. It must be my fault because, after all, I am the only parent in the home.
All the way home, I thought about what I might have done wrong. I wondered if my depression had played a role, if my relationship with Banks was to blame. I wondered if I wasn’t spending enough quality time with J or if I was spending too much. Am I spending more of my attention and time on Banks? Am I neglecting J’s needs or wants or desires? I wondered how often and in how many ways I must have failed my child to lead him to this point, where he’s stabbing kids with eating utensils.
And then I dropped my child off with a sitter, went to my work meeting, and came home several hours later to snuggle with my little boy. We talked about being kind to our friends and not hitting people with fists or feet or, obviously, eating utensils. But mostly? Mostly we just snuggled. Because I don’t know how to delve into his head and figure out what’s upsetting him. I don’t know how to talk to him about the choices he makes or the people he hurts. I don’t know how to fix whatever is happening in his life.
So we snuggled. And we laughed. And I tried to let go of the feeling I’m doing everything wrong and hold onto the feeling that I’m doing the best that I can.
And obviously? Today, he had a spoon in his lunch.