17 August 2011

Put your rage on the page

Toward the end of the school year, Sacha had a particularly bad day at school, during which he accidentally clocked his teacher in the chin hard enough to send her to the doctor midday, after she forcibly brought him to the sink to make him wash his hands. 

In my completely unobjective opinion, the bitch had in coming, but that is a story for another day. For now, suffice it to say, it does not take a military tactician to point out that if you find yourself embroiled in a power struggle with a hyperactive, oppositional five year-old, you’d best step down, as experience has taught me that you will always come out on the losing end of that showdown.

Sacha was feeling pretty bad about himself, and I was feeling drained from soothing his addled nerves, and so, when we got to the pool, I let him go to the shuffleboard court on his own. I wanted a little time to myself, and instead of checking on him at my usual 5-minute intervals, I stretched it to 10 minutes. When I did check on him I watched him from the edge of the court — see ticking time bombs, sleeping dogs, etc., —  and from my vantage point, he seemed to be playing happily with a bunch of kids.

Twenty peaceful minutes later, a lifeguard brought my screaming child to me, explaining that he’d been interfering in people’s games. I apologized to the lifeguard, and attempted to comfort my extremely low-frustration tolerant son. I gave him the requisite talk about not disrupting people's games, but my heart wasn’t quite in it, because I knew it was really my fault.

I spent the rest of the afternoon limping around the pool with Sacha clinging to my leg screaming. I was in this position when a woman approached me. "Excuse me," she said, "is that your son?" I took this to be a rhetorical question, what with the clinging and screaming and the strong familial resemblance, but nonetheless, I answered, “Yes.”

“Could you please watch him on the shuffleboard court?” she asked.
“I know; I’m so sorry; the lifeguard told me. I was checking on him, but clearly I didn’t get close enough to see what was happening, and I read the situation wrong.”

“He really shouldn’t be left alone there,” she continued, “He was very disruptive.”
“I’m really sorry,” I said.
“He kept messing up my daughter's game. He kept moving the puck around, and changing the scoreboard. He made it impossible to for us to play.”

At this point, I started to lose my temper. My brain said, “Look, second bitch I have encountered today, you should put on your listening ears, because I have just said, ‘My bad.' Twice." I have taken responsibility for my son’s actions, and social convention dictates that no matter how pissed off at me you are, and perhaps rightly so, you should, at this point, graciously accept my apology and go on to resent me for the rest of your life, if you like.”

Instead, I repeated, with all the politeness I could muster, “I am terribly sorry, and as you see, my son also feels pretty awful too.”

With that, I hobbled off on my screaming peg leg. I think it is safe to say it was not the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

1 comment:

  1. Seriously? This woman is a mother and she took that attitude??? No way. Good for you for keeping cool and sorry that happened. Talk about taking wind out of sails on an already crappy day. Some people just want blood.

    Char has been having a real hard time with the thought of starting kindergarten lately. Like crazy anxiety. (He's not good with transitions.) So I know how it goes. Our kids anxiety, sadness, hurt takes more out of us than if we were going through it ourselves.

    Bluh. Stay strong.