Every step of the way as a mother I have a reoccurring thought: there should be a warning system in place for the unexpected stuff that comes down the parenting pike. This week alone has prompted this list of warnings to my peers:
WARNING: All children get sick and you may have a cougher.
Today marks day 10 of Isaac coughing again – third bout since school started. And I mean coughing like I’d imagine in say, a Russian prison infected with Tuberculosis kind of coughing. He gagged and carried on not quite continuously but with alarming and maddening frequency from 5am until I put him on the bus this week. I mean, what can I do, if I kept him home everyday he coughed, he’d have missed 30 days of school this year. He told me his music teacher sent him to the nurse today to see if he had a fever (which he didn’t). And I did keep him home last Friday thinking with a long weekend he could get past it but as always it has to run its 2 week course. Right about the time I am searching the Internet for some kind of used iron lung or hyperbaric chamber he turns the corner.
WARNING: Six year olds are just half a teenager.
We had some kids over the other day and things weren’t going so well between Isaac and one of the girls. At one point I pulled him aside and said, “Come with me for a minute, I want to talk to you.” I did all the right stuff - took him inside away from the other kids, got down on his level and calmly reminded him about being a good friend. And he seemed attentive until he suddenly interrupted and calmly declared, “that was a minute, I just counted to 60.” I let it go because literally is a big word, but when he’s 12, I won’t.
WARNING: Start all emails to your kid’s principal with, IN CONFIDENCE.
Last week I emailed Isaac’s principal and in making my case for a popular teacher next year, I mentioned that for me (not Isaac) his current teacher’s style has been a little difficult to embrace. Little did I know the principal would then forward this message to his teacher who would actually call me and ask me about it! Possibly the most awkward and unexpected conversation ever!
WARNING: Don’t get too comfortable.
Libby has decided to end the school year the same way she started. This week she has completely regressed to declaring that she won’t go to school and then crying the minute we enter the building. Today I had to pull my hand out of her grasp and leave her there - big tears and muffled sobs. Maybe she’s just ready to call it a year and welcome summer. She only has 3 days left and I’m not even going to mention to her that she is signed up for the 3 week summer session.
WARNING: None of this matters
None of this matters because like the tired old joke about kids not coming with an instruction manual, you can never be prepared for life, much less life with kids, and all it’s surprises – and really, who’d want to?