So. On Tuesday I was having my super-fun lunch with Mir, which necessitated JR being the one to pick Grasshopper up from school.
When I got home Grasshopper was napping and JR was working. I told him all about my lunch, and then asked about his day. "Well," he said, "it was good up until Grasshopper's teacher told me that he got into some trouble at school today."
I was shocked. Grasshopper NEVER gets in trouble at school. At home, yes. A LOT, truth be told, but at school, nuh-uh.
Apparently Tuesday was different though; he was snatching toys and books from other kids and had knocked his friend Maya down and made her cry. I felt awful. She is one of his best buddies and I couldn't believe that he was being such a bully.
On the one hand, we were really surprised by this because that's not normal Grasshopper behavior. But the thing is that "normal Grasshopper behavior" is changing lately. He is rude, defiant, and in time-out so much that he just laughs and fools around in the time-out chair when we put him there. He is ignoring us, doing the opposite of what we say and constantly telling us "no."
Last night we put him to bed at 6:30 without dinner because he wouldn't eat and we just couldn't take him any more. Nothing was working, not time-out, not having toys taken away, not even the threat of a super-early bedtime. So we put him to bed and then threw the rest of our dinner away because neither of us was hungry any more.
We feel like we are failing.
What happened to our well-behaved little boy? We've been consistent with his consequences for bad behavior. We've been effusive with our compliments for good behavior. He gets plenty of opportunities to socialize, to try new things, to play, to read stories, to go the park. Where are we going wrong?
"It's perfectly normal at this stage of his development." His teacher assured us, when I spoke to her on the phone Tuesday night. "However, he is so much bigger than so many of the kids in the class that someone can get really hurt without him meaning for it to happen. My first priority has to be keeping everyone safe."
I sank a little lower in my seat.
He is a sweet boy, I know that he is. He is my baby and I want to make this situation better for him. I want to figure out what JR and I are doing wrong so that we can change it. I want to make sure that the rest of the world is able to see all of the really wonderful things about him that I see. I don't want to be the mother of a bully.
Most of all, right now, I'm scared to go pick him up from school because I'm not sure what I'll hear about today. And I don't feel any better equipped to help him than I did yesterday.