The last few days have been tough mom days.
- Chase admitted to being bullied on the bus for half the school year
- Chase left his mobile phone in the washer
- Chase scored an F on his end of year math evaluation
Needless to say, besides trying to be the ultimate tour guide, cook gourmet meals, mourn, look cute and prepare for our summer stay in the US, these last few events seemed like, how do you say? “Straws on my camel’s back?” What the hell is that saying? I don’t know. You know what I mean.
1. Bus Bully
Luckily dad was here when Chase decided to finally admit the situation. Even retired, my father manages breakthroughs. Dad and I asked him why it took so long to tell us and Chase said he thought he could just handle it. God, it just breaks my heart and makes me feel so mad. I’ve never seen my dad get so angry either. He kept talking about using physical force and waving his fist around. For a man who is like “Korean Gandhi” I was in shock. I guess when you have 3 daughters, you don’t feel like you can give that kind of advice. It was also interesting to learn new things about my dad at this point in our lives, listening to him recount stories of his childhood bullies. Anyhow, we decided Chase should try to empower himself by writing an official letter to the school describing the situation and asking them “please help me put a stop to this, before I have to use my physical strength” Dad was making all kinds of suggestions for the letter, but it was starting to sound a little too Columbine, so we carefully edited just how “frustrated” Chase should sound. Next step, he would have a conversation with the principal. We also told Chase, when he got on the bus tomorrow, and when the bullies started verbally abusing him, he was to look them in the eye and say, “This stops TODAY.” The next day, everything went according to plan. The school was all over the situation and called each of the boys in for a conference. We were informed that everyone cracked under the pressure and 2 boys cried. Letters of apology were written to Chase and behaviour was documented. I don’t mind intervening in certain situations, but I am very concerned that Chase is turning into a wuss. He is always “victimized” and refuses to fight back. He has a fear of getting into trouble, which is fine, but it is crippling when you can’t even defend your honor to boys half your size. I hope once his testicles drop, maybe he’ll feel more reactive when someone insults him. Who knows.
2. Can you hear me now?
Ever since Chase was about 6 years old, and we discovered the joy of crayons left in a dryer; we made the rule: always empty pockets before putting clothes in the hamper. There were a few mishaps in the early years, but overall it has been pretty good. The other day, I put a load into the washer and went upstairs to do a little cardio. When I came downstairs, I could hear something thumping in the washer. Like a sneaker or dead body part. I waited to see if it would go away by itself, but it just kept going. Then I decided to investigate and put my face in front of the washer window and watched the cycle spinning round and round. I caught a glimpse of something silver and put my face even closer to the window. Then, suddenly, I saw it! Chase’s mobile phone smack on the window! The next thing I know, I’m seeing red and my mind is in a temporary state of paralysis. Of course I have to stop my front-loading washer, mid-cycle and retrieve the phone. I do an internet search (but my mind knows it’s hopeless) and take the phone apart and throw it into a sandwich bag full of rice. Thank God Chase wasn’t home, because I would probably be typing this blog from my jail cell after murdering my child. By the time he came home, I let him know what I found and that I would be pro-rating the cost of his phone from his allowance until it was paid for. He should not expect a replacement phone, and if he needed to call me, he would have to ask someone around him with a phone to call his mom. Then, I gave him the bag of rice and phone, and said he would have to continue carrying his “phone” with him to get into the habit.
3. The F-ing test
What can I say? I didn’t know whether to yell or cry so I did both. This was the year-end math evaluation for 4th grade students. I told Chase, “this test tells St. Mary’s, Holy Innocents, your teachers and parents what you learned in math and evidently, you didn’t learn anything!” Then I said, “You better start practicing baseball a lot more and working out because you are going to have to earn a living using your body because nobody hires people who make F’s for their brains!” Cliff and I were in Defcon 4. After a miserable evening of condemnation, I realized in bed that night that it really takes a village. I also realized that Chase’s failure was something we all had a hand in: His math teacher, Cliff and me. We dropped the ball. The next morning, I decided to go to school and talk with Chase’s teacher and see if paying these tuitions and being a private school parent I could do anything. Luckily, teacher seemed surprised as well and admitted to not being the best math student herself. She said she would be willing to give Chase (and a few other boys) a second opportunity to take the test. I was so relieved and grateful. That night, I informed Chase of this new development. We agreed we would cram and study all night. He went to bed bleary-eyed and distraught, but I knew all of this was an invaluable lesson: No pain, no gain.
The next morning, we got up early to go over a couple more things. Before he left, I told Chase I didn’t care how he scored on the re-test. I was proud that he sacrificed and studied hard. But I did say to try to at least pass.
I was so anxious all day, and Cliff kept emailing and texting me if I had heard anything. I finally decided I would meet Chase after school to show him my support and take him out for ice cream. When I got to the school, I saw Chase sitting with some friends.
- Chase: What are you doing here mom?
- Me: I thought I would take my best boy out for ice cream.
- Chase: That’s nice.
- Me: So… How’d you do?…
- Chase: (looking sheepish) I made an A.
- Me: (Tears in my eyes) I knew you could do it. (hugs)
I went back to the classroom and met up with his math teacher. She confirmed what he said and let me know she would combine the 2 scores and he would end up having a B-.
Was I interfering with the natural order of the universe? Was I being overprotective? Yes. No one knows what a jungle it is out there better than a tiger mom. Do I ascribe to everything the “Tiger Mom” stands for? Absolutely not. But, sometimes we need to do what we can to help our cubs survive.
Until next time…