It's been one of those days. From the moment my eyeballs opened.
It started with me waking up on the wrong side of the bed - I know, very surprising. I need much more sleep than I've been getting and, even though I got more sleep last night, it wasn't much more. So I was a full-fledged crank.
I then had an incident with my son. I dared to help him by returning something to my room from his room (because it belonged to me), and he threw a fit. Like mother, like son, I guess. He was so ticked off by this he decided he could not possibly finish his morning chore of making his bed. And I was determined he would. The result: A battle of wills to which I came out victorious. However, I can't say that I was happy about it because the method of which I won my battle did not make me proud. No, I did not half-maim my son. However, I was VERY angry, and that is NEVER a good thing.
Needless to say, I did not win any mommy of the year awards this morning.
Then, I had a two hour safety meeting before my afternoon run. The kids stayed with grandma for the afternoon while I attended the meeting, a meeting that turned out to be battleground number two. The meeting was about driving school bus in adverse weather conditions. The battle was on how much leeway the drivers should have when it came to refusing to drive the bus in certain weather conditions. I did not fight in this battle, but I came away with the beginning of a headache.
Then on to my afternoon bus run. Thankfully my kids were not with me.
During the morning run, as the last half dozen kids were getting off, someone near the back pushed, causing the front kids to go flying. This is absolutely forbidden on the bus and can actually cause suspension of bus riding privileges. When trying to pinpoint who the pusher was, I had two kids tell me it was Chase, and one kid (Chase's buddy) tell me it was Austin. Both denied being the perpetrator. For a little history, Chase is in foster care and the kid who has caused the most trouble on my bus (he was the one who socked River in the nose, as mentioned in a previous post). He has also never admitted to anything, even things I've witnessed myself. Austin, on the other hand, has always listened when I've corrected him (apologizing to me as well) and NEVER denied when he's been caught in the past. As well, Austin was quite a bit behind Chase and I really couldn't see how he could have pushed Chase. To me, this was a no-brainer. So, correctly or incorrectly, I made a judgement call, and told Chase he had to sit on the front seat for the ride home.
After school, I ensure that Chase was sitting on the front seat, but he thinks his best buddy, Brennan, should be able to sit with him. I quickly kibosh that idea, causing Chase to go into a full-fledged rage. And stupid me - I actually tried to reason with him. To the point that I found myself arguing with a 12-year-old. For about one minute, when I realized that I had been ensnared and that I was supposed to be the adult. I wasn't yelling. But I was arguing.
"WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? YOU AREN'T MY MOM! YOU WOULD NEVER BELIEVE ME! I DIDN'T DO NO *&$#*& PUSHING!"
Well, he didn't actually swear, but he used a word as substitute that I think is VERY close to the worst word, and therefore, unprintable.
I told him if he didn't stop yelling that I would give him a one day suspension.
He said, "GO AHEAD, I DON'T CARE! I DON'T WANT TO BE ON THIS STUPID BUS ANYWAY! I WOULD RATHER WALK ANYWAY!"
Totally belligerent. So, I started writing up his one-day suspension notice, all the while Brennan was beaking off about how it was Austin who pushed. Brennan, by the way, insulted Austin a couple of weeks prior by saying nasty things about his grandma, whom he lives with. Austin, in defence, pushed Brennan and almost started crying. As you can see, Brennan and Chase are not a good combination.
As I started to say something to Chase, he put up his hand (you know, the old "talk to the hand" sign) and said,
"I AIN'T TALKING OR LISTENING TO YOU NO MORE! DON'T EVEN BOTHER TRYING!"
Now, this was going much too far for me. So I extended his suspension to one week. He informed me that, "I'M GONNA TEAR UP THAT NOTICE ANYWAY!"
I told him that was fine, I'd be giving his caregiver a call anyway.
Then I finished my bus run. There you have it. I booted my first kid off the bus. Not for one day. But for one week. And it was a kid who I have really, really, really tried hard to work with, and in fact, because of his terrible circumstances, have in the past let things go too long. But I realized that I really had no choice. I could not let the rest of the kids on the bus think that talking to me, totally disrespecting me, yelling at me in that manner was EVER acceptable.
I then had to talk to the vice-principal. You know, the guy can be quite arrogant and condescending, and really, I could have slapped him. Sorry, but it's true. He did not disagree with my discipline, but he said things like:
"Do you think that Chase could have, perhaps, been, uh, trying to push your buttons?" (Really, now why didn't I think of that? Hmm....are you telling me that just because I am aware of that possibility that my buttons could NEVER GET PUSHED?)
"Do you realize that they live in a foster care because their home situation was less than desirable?" (Really, I didn't know that? In fact, I am SO MUCH aware of that that I have posted about this and my heart has been TORN IN TWO. Does he realize that I PRAY FOR THESE KIDS EVERY SINGLE NIGHT? Because I am TORN IN TWO?)
Does he realize that even now I am very, very sad about this? And yes, regretful, although the only thing I could have done differently is not argue. Period.
At least when I called his caregiver, she was very supportive and very reasonable. She understands consequences and, told me that Chase pushed people around all the time and she didn't doubt for one minute that he had instigated it. I just really, really hope that she hugs him a lot. And yes, I even told her that I argued with him. Because, after all, I'm guilty and confession is good for the soul.
Then I came home and took four ibuprofen. Yep. Four.
Tonight, my son was again very cranky. I guess he was just finishing off a day that was begun that way by his mother. Thankfully, I was not that way with him. I had recovered from this morning. I hugged him and kissed him and snacked him and brushed his teeth and put him to bed without a story. Because he was out of control. But at least I loved him to bed.
And I told him that both he and I were going to start tomorrow differently. And that means I have to get to bed, like right now, and get more sleep. Good night.