Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday Morning Rant #483

      I'm in such a snit this morning that I thought I would share...isn't that sweet of me?  Actually I really need some ideas.  I had an awesome plan for this morning and I "flubbed it" (as Michaleen Oge Flynn says in the Quiet Man).  
      The background is that we have gotten into the pattern of having a power struggle every school morning.  First the boy will not get out of bed- I have tried the loudest alarm clock I could find-he doesn't even hear it that I can tell.  I can hear it from downstairs clear as day and he just keeps on sleeping! I have also tried LOUD pumping music, tearing off the covers and turning on a fan, splashing cold water on him, and finally have resorted to physically grabbing him under the arms and standing him up.  At that point it used to work to tell him that he was going to miss the bus-he no longer cares, he doesn't even mind if I charge Taxi fees to drive him, he hasn't had any allowance money left after taxi fees for 2 weeks, and he doesn't even care any more. He has more than once declared "I am not going to school and you can't make me!" Well he hasn't gotten away with that-he has not missed school on the days when he has so declared, but he has missed enough from illness and appointments that unless he is throwing up or has a fever he is going to school even if I have to physically drag him down the stairs (Which I have done once). Last Wednesday I got him out the door with just enough time to get to the bus, and he came back a few minutes later. "What happened?" "I walked slow and missed the bus." So I got ready to take him while (unbeknownst to me) he was locking himself in his room.  He then yelled "I'm not going to School and you can't make me" So I unlocked his door and he was hiding under the bed.  I went downstairs and called the school psychologist. A few minutes later I told him that she wanted to meet him and he calmly got in the car and went to school. He was even cheerful and playing that he was driving! I met with her on Thursday (he had a field trip so he actually wanted to go, but not bad enough to take the bus) she is going to do some checking to see if he is having trouble on the bus, but mostly she thinks, and I agree, that it is just a pattern he has gotten into, and it will not be easy to change.

  So I brainstormed with some friends and my Love & Logic instructor and came up with a plan.
Then I did a dry run on Friday to try to find holes in the plan and plug them.(big mistake 'cause he was prepared this morning) Here is how it went:  I put him on the front porch with his jacket backpack, socks & shoes, (In time to make it to the bus) locked the door behind him and got in my car.  Then the garage door would not close (hole #1)-so I pretended not to notice and drove away (the door to the house was locked so he couldn't get in) I drove around the corner and waited about 10 minutes.  Then I drove back and said "Somebody told me the garage door was open so I came back" (Not a lie because I told myself).  "You didn't close it Mom!" "You missed the bus huh, how sad! I guess you have to pay me to drive you"  "I can't believe you did that Mom" "Better get in, I have an appointment and I'm already late" So he got in and I drove him to school. Score one for Ryan.

      Here is the email I sent to Ryan's Teacher, the School Principal and the School Psychologist on Friday-

I want to give you a heads up and ask for input...I've been having a terrible time getting Ryan out of the house in the morning.  It has come to my attention that this is because he knows I will be home and is hoping to stay home with me, so on Tuesday we will be having a Love & Logic strategic training session. This is the plan so far:  Ready or not I will be putting Ryan out of the house at 7:32 am (with any necessities not already on his person in his backpack or on the porch like coat, shoes & socks etc.)  This will give him plenty of time to put them on & get to the bus should he so choose.  He has already been informed that I have a commitment and will be leaving at the same time as him. I will then get in my car and leave, I plan to be gone at least an hour...If he chooses not to go to the bus stop (a choice he has made a few times lately) he will not be able to get back in the house.  (I am working on recruiting assistance from the neighbors for surveillance & possible assistance with his problem from there). 
Do you have any input on this? I would really appreciate any comments or suggestions...I want this to be a learning experience (i.e. uncomfortable) but not harmful.
     Lest you say "that is mean", please know that this is an Absolute Last Resort, that I talked to my neighbors and made sure they would be looking out for him, and made sure he had a warm jacket, shoes and socks in his backpack, it was 36 degrees (Fahrenheit) outside (So he would be cold but not freeze) and everything would be safe. I let him know ahead of time that I had an appointment this morning and would have to leave at the same time as his bus. And I got the garage door opener fixed (or so I thought, it wouldn't close again this morning).

So I was all prepared to do it for real this morning... and I could not get the boy downstairs! ( I grabbed him by the hand to physically lead him, but he got away and ran to his room screaming "You don't know how hard it is to be me!  You don't care about me, all you care about is if I get out of the house!" to which I responded "Nice try, I love you too much not to make sure you get a chance at a good education")  By the time we got downstairs he had already missed the bus-which was his plan all along! Once again he got me to drive him to school. And while I was fuming, he was all cheerful and lovey.
I am going crazy with this morning power struggle.  I hate that this is how I am relating with my son, that I am resorting to physically grabbing him by the hand and dragging him, but he has to go to school! I am at a loss. I do not know what else to do. 

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