Sophie chose the moment I was lathering my hair into a silky, aromatic beehive in the shower to inform me that she had been sent to the principal's office. The PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE, people!! My mouth popped open and I just stared at her. "Whaaaaat?!" My head was spinning. I'm pretty sure as a five year-old I would've had a heart attack and dropped dead right there in the middle of circle time, had I heard the words "principal's office" in combination with the words "Kristy" and "go to".
Sophie said, "Well..."
I turned off the water and stared.
She continued. "I just thought it was something I should tell you."
I jerked the towel down off the rod and informed her that she'd better tell me everything...EV.ER.Y. THING (so I could accurately relay the details to the Officer with whom I would be filing the Missing Child Report).
She launched into a story about how she and Nixon were supposed to be doing art...and how Nixon smacked her in the face and called her a Tomato Head...and how Nixon was being sassy and really, really just plain awful...
I stopped her and said, "Sophie. What were YOU doing that caused you to be sent to the principal's office?"
"Nixon wasn't listening to the teacher and..."
I whipped my hand up. Halt! Made a face that apparently caused her to reconsider the facts of her story.
"Well... I was fighting with Nixon. And rolling on the floor in a big pile. And I wasn't listening to Mrs. Wardle. Aaaaaaaaand thennnnn..."
(Cue the waterworks.)
Criminy, I don't know. I'm still a bit cloudy on the exact details of what happened (I wrote an email to her teacher, asking her to call me tonight). I do know there's usually a Time Out stop between "Tomato Head" and the principal, which is usually enough of a cool-down to "de-activate" Sophs and get her back on track. How she STILL managed to find herself sitting in front of Ms. McMurray, I haven't the foggiest. What I do know is this:
1.) This incident may have happened several months ago. I say this because Nixon hasn't been in Sophie's classroom for awhile. No one knows for sure why. Sophie just came home one day and announced, "Nixon is never coming back!!" My theory is he was asked not to return based on Section 15 of the school handbook, which states, "ongoing discipline problems may be addressed by excusing the child permanently from the classroom". Sophie and her classmates' theory is that he is dead - "chopped up into teeny bits and fed to an alligator". The imagination of a five year-old, especially in group form, is an impressive thing.
2.) While it's refreshing that Sophie's conscience apparently finally caught up with her and prompted her to tell the truth, it's disturbing that she did something disruptive enough to be sent to the principal's office. THE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE. Just uttering the words makes me shudder.
3.) I honestly don't know what Point #3 is. I know I had one when I started this list, but unfortunately I seem to be stuck on the fact that my child got sent to the principal's office.
We've always known Sophie was one of "those children". In fact, I remember informing her teacher of exactly that during our initial home visit before the start of preschool. "She's bright, she's sweet, she loves to help...but she's likely to be the child that makes you want to rip out your hair at the end of the day." She's "the girl with the curl", I remember telling her. When she's good, she's very, very good, and when she's bad, she's horrid. You know "those children" - the ones who cut their hair (or their friend's hair) during art time, the ones who lodge various assorted knick-knacks up their nose, the ones who "accidentally" flood the bathroom while washing up before lunch, the ones who somehow manage to glitter glue their lips to their eyebrows, or sharpen their finger into a bloody stump.
Sophie is strong-willed. If I say "blue", she'll say "red", just to assert an opinion different from the one stated. And she'll do it with a hand on her hip and an expression on her little tooty face that just makes you wanna THUMP her. Seriously, Dr. James Dobson should feature her in his new "New Strong-Willed Child". She could go on book tours with him and refuse to sign books when asked.
I spend so much of my day explaining, and teaching, and disciplining...and talking about WHY we were disciplined, and praying...about attitudes and actions and outcomes, and teaching, teaching, teachingteachingteaching. All in the name of producing a child that is fit for society. One that doesn't end up in Juvy before the age of sixteen. ...Or at all. That's probably a better goal.
And she gets sent to the principal's office. In preschool.
I've just been in a bad mood today. Edgy. Mulling stuff over and feeling like a bit of a failure. I mean, when your job is to be a mom, and your "job" gets sent to the principal's office...well, you just don't feel like you're doing a very good job at your job. You know what I mean?
Russ just walked in the door from work. When I dumped my Wounded Bunny feelings on him in a big heap he said, "Do you have ANY IDEA how many times I got sent to the principal's office at that age? Ask my mom. The number is probably shocking."
All righty then. Perspective.
I guess you can be one of "those children" and still turn out pretty okay.