I hate to say this, but it was inevitable. We knew at some point that it was going to happen, and it was more a matter of when. So I wasn’t too surprised when I got the phone call…well maybe a little surprised that it had taken as long as it did. What am I talking about? Cameron made his first trip to the principals office.
Yes, given his history and track record with getting in trouble at pre-school and daycare we knew there was no possible way Cameron would make it through all 13 years of public school without making some sort of trek to see an authority figure. We had kind of hoped he’d make it beyond Kindergarten before being sent to the office, but at the same time maybe it’s better this way. If we can get him to develop a healthy fear of being sent to the office he might rethink acts that would be much worse for him later on.
Not that getting in trouble has been much of a deterrent so far. Back when I was working and he was in daycare all day we were actually somewhat worried that they were going to ask us to leave because he was always in trouble. When he was three he stripped off all his clothes and streaked his way through the halls…because he could. They had colored cards on the wall which told you how your child did during the day as well. If Cameron managed to get a green card it was cause for celebration because more often than not he was on either yellow or even quite frequently red.
We did what we could to discipline him and tried to tell ourselves at the time that he was three and would grow out of these habits. We never found out if the daycare would ask us to leave because of his behavior because shortly thereafter I stopped working.
Later in pre-school things were a bit better. Well, at least he never went streaking through the pre-school. He did have a problem listening to the teacher and had more than his share of timeouts because of it. He also spent quite a bit of time in the office because after his timeout had been served he’d stubbornly refuse to re-join the group. Which would result in him having to go to the office until he was ready to participate again. There were days that meant he’d spend his entire two and a half hours of pre-school sitting in the office being stubborn.
As the year progressed he seemed to get better about it. He had less timeouts, or at least less that the teacher felt the need to call to my attention. The big test was going to be Kindergarten Roundup. If Cameron wants to do something, he’s very cooperative. If he doesn’t…well to put it bluntly you’re screwed.
So the trick was to get him interested in doing Kindergarten Roundup. I started talking to him about it months in advance. At first he wasn’t interested at all. He didn’t want to go to Kindergarten so he didn’t want to go to Kindergarten Roundup. It wasn’t until about the week before he was slated to go to Roundup that he finally showed some interest in it.
I took him out for donuts that morning to further raise his spirits and sell the whole Kindergarten thing. That put him in a great mood and he sailed through Kindergarten Roundup with flying colors. I hoped and prayed that if he liked Roundup that much that Kindergarten itself would be a breeze. And at first it did seem like it would be.
He got a Soaring Eagle on the first day of school. Any teacher can award one to any student who is found being responsible, respectable, or safe. We were very proud of him for receiving one, although he couldn’t remember what he’d done to earn it. After that we didn’t receive any notes home from his teacher or the principal saying his behavior wasn’t up to snuff so we assumed he was doing well in school.
About a month in to the school year we found out we were wrong about our assessment, they were just handling his mis-behavior instead of reporting every little incident home. Since them we’ve been working with him at home and they’ve continued working with him at school to improve his behavior. Slowly things have gotten a little bit better.
Until yesterday at least. Evidently Cameron was just having one of those days. From beginning to end he was messing around and misbehaving and after a while his teacher decided he needed to be sent to the office. He was talked to by the assistant principal and sent back to his classroom.
I decided when he got home not to mention, at first, that I knew about his little side trip. I wanted to see if he would tell me about it on his own or not. Sure enough, as soon as I asked him how school was he told me that he’d gotten into trouble and had to go to the office. I talked to him about it and tried to emphasize that getting in trouble at school is bad and that he can’t do things that will get him sent to the office.
I don’t know if my chat with him sunk in, or if the one from the principal did. All we can do is wait and see. I am still holding out hope that some day he will mature and outgrow this, but with every passing day it becomes a little less likely.