School again again

Yesterday was the first day of school and our new family tradition to make sure I keep quiet continued. The night before I said, “Girls? Tomorrow I will drive away at 7:40, and to make sure I don’t boss you around, I will have tape on my mouth. So any questions you have, ask me now.” There were no questions. Someone may have rolled their eyes slightly, but mostly the vibe was positive.

Overall, the first morning was uneventful, although Charlotte remained in a state of denial until 10 minutes before it was time to go at which point she erupted with, “Mom, I don’t know what to put in my lunch!! … And my backpack is empty!!! All I have is my lunchbox! What else am I supposed to bring?!! What if I don’t have what I need?!!!!!”

What a relief that my only option was a wordless response that consisted of pointing to her and giving the thumbs-up sign. She made it into the car on time, kicked the back of my seat a few times in frustration (which I ignored), and by the time we got to school she had a smile on her face and a bounce in her step. No rabbit hole for us – woohoo!

This morning was more challenging. Charlotte got up early but then proceeded to take a cat nap in our bed and then shut herself in the dog crate for 30 minutes while she wallowed both in dog hair and in the enormity of the task before her.

At 7:39 I got in the car. Fenner was already there and Ellen came in right after. Just as the clock changed to 7:40, Charlotte got in and said, “Mom, can you wait for me? I just have to get socks.” I answered, “I promised I’d drive away at 7:40 which is right now.” “Well then I have to go find my flip-flops!” she exclaimed.

I backed out of the garage and Charlotte started wailing, “Moooom, I’ll be going to school shoeless! Let me out!!” I stopped and let her out. She ran back to the house and when the van door closed again I put the car in drive. “Are we leaving without her?” asked Fenner casually. “Yep,” I said. “Ok. Bye Charlotte.” And off we went.

The beauty is that this time, it wasn’t very hard to do. I still felt a twinge of motherly worry, but I knew from experience that she would bounce right back, and that Fenner and Ellen could rest assured that they can take me at my word. But the best part was that it meant we didn’t have to fight. No power struggle, no anger, no yelling, no blame, no guilt, no rabbit hole. Just pure natural consequence.

When I got back to the house she was happily playing the piano upstairs. “Hi Charlotte!” I called, “I’m back and I can take you to school whenever you’re ready!” The playing stopped and I heard footsteps down the stairs. “Moooom! Why do you do that?! It uses up too much gas! You have to drive all the way here and all the way back to work and it puts bad stuff in the environment!” “You’re right, Charlotte,” I said. “So good thing it doesn’t happen very often!” She gave me a scowl and hopped in the car.

Time lost at school: 20 minutes.

Benefit gained: resilience, learning, and trust.


Explore posts in the same categories: Weeks following: Miscellaneous

8 Comments on “School again again”

  1. jane Says:

    Love it. So hard to imagine pulling out of the drive – but you are showing us the way.
    I keep saying “if you don’t want to do if forever…”

  2. Debby Says:

    You are so STRONG!

    • flockmother Says:

      Thank you, it’s only because I know how bad the alternative is! As Vicki says, I’m simply not willing to spend 18+ years fighting with my kids. 🙂

  3. breathebeast Says:

    Love the inspiration! And it’s funny, but I keep thinking how lucky Charlotte is, to have a mother who gives her encouragement like you do, and trust that she CAN figure this out on her own, or perhaps with a little conversation if needed. Soo cool.

  4. Wow. You are walking the talk! Thanks so much for continuing to share your journey — we need it! 🙂

  5. Kathy Says:

    Keep on keeping on! I am right there with you. We have been late three times this week (it is Thursday)but loving every late moment as I walk hand and hand with my daughter to her class!

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