Tuesday wake-up call

Yesterday after school, Charlotte couldn’t wait to tell Jerry, “Dad! I caught the bus!” “I heard about that! What was that like?” “It was cool.” She beamed with pride and demonstrated how she walked fast up the hill and had to stop every so often to catch her breath.

So last night Charlotte had no good-night visit from us, and I even forced myself not to go in after she was asleep and make sure her alarm clock was set. Now it’s 8:10am and Charlotte is sound asleep. School starts in 5 minutes. Fenner and Ellen left for the bus over an hour ago. (Side note: a month ago if you had asked me whether any of our girls would choose to take the bus in the morning, I would have said absolutely no way. The times we had them take the bus home from school we would hear, “The ride is so looong … it’s boring … the bus is hot and stinky … I don’t like those weird boys … they don’t let you eat … I hate the bus because I always have pee so bad when I get off … etc. etc.” This morning, I didn’t lift a finger and I stood there and watched them practically prance up that hill together to the bus stop. I just can’t get over it.)

(Ok, back to Charlotte.) 8:15. Now I’m wondering, since Jerry’s home, maybe I should leave for work…I don’t know….Oh! I hear her walking down the upstairs hall:

“Why didn’t you say goodnight?” She’s crying at the top of the stairs. ” I didn’t know how to set my alarm clock, I forgot how to! … And now I missed the bus! I don’t know how to set it for bus time or for mommy time!”

Several minutes later she was dressed. She came down stairs and stopped and glared at Jerry and then walked away. Jerry looked at me and I shrugged. “I’m ready when you are!” I said. She went in the mudroom. “Where’s my backpack?” We didn’t answer. A few seconds later she went out to the car to get it. Jerry and I looked at each other and smiled. “It’s working,” he says. Now she’s discovered something in her backpack she was supposed to do last night. “Was this homework?” asked Jerry. “Yes! I forgot about it, Dad!” “Hmm.” “Stop it, Dad.”

Now she’s making her lunch. “Mom, even when it’s past time at bedtime, can you please come in my room because every night I’m going to forget how to work my clock for bus time or mommy time.” She says this close to tears. “Tonight we’ll have another lesson,” I reply.

I started to get ready too and she comes over, again close to tears, “I can’t find my gym shoes and it’s gym today and I can’t find them, and I can’t be super late!” I looked at her. “You remembered that it’s gym day.” She looked away. “Oh, maybe they’re in the car.” I knew they weren’t. I knew she had left them by the art table which is not visible unless you walk all the way over there. It was all I could do not to tell her where they were.

“Moooom, they’re not in the car! … Will you please help me look?”   “Ok, where are you going to look first?” “Here?” she asked. “Ok, I’ll look in the living room.” I go in there and straighten up the cushions and fold a few blankets, then I hear. “Oh, I give up! … Mom, I give up!” “Charlotte, how about I look on this side of the house, and you look on that side.” She looks over into the art room. “Found them!”

We get in the car and as we drive away she rolls down the window and shouts, “Bye Dad! I love you!!”

At school 40 minutes late. She jumps out of the car and runs inside. As I pull away I think: I wonder if she ate any breakfast? …

Explore posts in the same categories: Week 4: Four Mistaken Goals of Behavior

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