Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Next Stop (whooo wooo)...Juvy!

Okay, so...neat.

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.


Kristy said...

I am the exact same way with Keira! If she gets in trouble- I am so upset because I never got in trouble at school!!!
I love the Sophie stories so much, and she is just the cutest lil thing ever!

bethany actually said...

I have a sneaking suspicion that if I were one of Sophie's teachers she would be one of my favorite kids. When I was working with kids, I always loved the ones who were the biggest challenges. Seriously. Just pray that Sophie always has teachers like me. ;-)

Russ said...

I am not sure why I was a little surprised by this, but I admit that I definitely was. The good news is that I spent some time in the principal's office. (Oh, that's only good news if you like the way I turned.)

Jamie said...

"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..."

That's hilarious! I can hear those exact words coming out of a child's mouth. Don't worry about it too much. Most kids spend at least a few minutes inside that very scary office. I know I did!

Josh and Margo said...

This whole story was awesome. I was cracking up. And the standing in the circle time brought back memories. Did they also have the squares at Holly Harshman when you were in school? I went to the principle's office like the first week of kindergarten....for spitting on girls.

Jen Forbes said...

HAAAAAA - that is a riot!!! Ada and Sophie deserve each other. Ada hasn't been to "the office" yet, but it is only a matter of time. We get DAILY reports of her escapades and we're ready to choke her. I hear you about the "failing at your job" thing. I'm about the hang up the mom-jeans for good and take on a new career. Any ideas?
Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

Awwww, don't get me hooked on your wonderful stories of my most precious Great Niece just to leave me again!!!!!!!!
I LOVE Sophie :)

Aunt Becky

Anonymous said...

I loved the picture at the end of the post! It summed it up quite nicely. I also loved the comment about Sophie on the book tour. So, our Russie got sent to the principal's office a lot; frankly, I was surprised to hear that. Who would have thunk it?! Love, Mooms

Anonymous said...

I love your stories. Makes my days with Max seem not so bad. We've had lots of Principle calls. In time they have gotten less. You have to love those strong willed children even more. They make you laugh and look at life from a different point of view. She's a perfect fit for you.


Anonymous said...

You're a great writer . . . had me cracking up! And . . . remember, you're job is to BE a mom at which you're doing an AWESOME job! You're job is not Sophie, it's BEING . . . you're a human BEING, not a human DOING. We all have moments of feeling like failures as parents, but as long as we continue to BE all that God has called us to be and who He says we are, we are a success!

Keep journaling . . . and write a book . . . it would be a best seller!


Anonymous said...

Ok. My stomach is in pain laughing. I got a vision of the "silky, aromatic beehive". You're too funny.


Anonymous said...

You are so funny. I agree with the writing comments. I am so sure that you are the perfect mom.

Melba Head

Anonymous said...

I love your Ramblings on Sophie! When you write a book, I wanted the first copy!!


Anonymous said...

You're hilarious! You are also an incredible mom. I have to say that you are the perfect mom for Sophie. Your love, determination, humor, and creativity are all a perfect compliment for her personality. She needs a mom who will laugh at her shenanigans, and who will see that she can also be "very, very good." She also needs you, the stern-I-... See Moredon't-approve-of-going-to-the-principal's-office mom, to help keep her out of juvy. :o)

I love how you said you dumped your heap of Wounded Bunny emotions on Russell. That's exactly what I do to Ian. Russell is a fantastic man, and I think the trips to the principal's office didn't adversely affect his career. ;o)


superstar dkw said...

I got sent to the principal a lot starting about 4th or 5th grade. I got finished with my work faster than everyone else and then took it upon myself to keep me entertained. Then folks started treating me like a trouble maker (Mrs. Riley started my disicplinary problems with her impatience) and then it was like, huh, you want to treat me like a hoodlum, I'll show you trouble. My parents were very quick to believe I was indeed a trouble maker, so that didn't help either. I think you are doing a great job. Sophie has already shown she is super creative, and that needs to continue to be nourished. Sometimes us creative folks are 'those kids.'

Brett said...

I got sent to the principal's office too - 1st grade, for FIGHTING (next to last fight I ever got into, i think). And ... I turned out alright (well, maybe not ... according to some). I'm not sure Jill doesn't want to send me to the principal's office sometimes! I remember later on that particular principal came over to our house and told the story of the "big, bad Brett Yates" who's feet couldn't even reach the floor when sitting in on the couch at the principal's office. Too funny ...

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