I've had them, you've had them. We're all bonded together by a string of mutual 'bad mom' moments. It's what we talk about at bus stops, charity dinners and, apparently blogs! But I think I've got the defining moment!
As most of you may not know, my family is in the midst of a medical 'thing' that requires me to be in MN with my son and causing a family separation. My folks are staying at my house with my husband and taking care of my two younger kids (Bubba and Goober) until school lets out. My oldest, Bud, is in MN having yet another surgery to lengthen his leg - long-term problem resulting from his Cancer treatment. We are staying with my in-laws. Sounds like a recipe for a sit-com doesn't it? Where are the producers of Army wives when these fun things come up in life? Ok, we're Air Force - but it could work for TriCare issues and military family humor! Fortunately, there is a lot of love in our family and it works! It is, needless to say, a stressful time though!
Recently, we had a 'setback' day. We've had a lot of them this time around - I thought only their attitudes were supposed to be difficult in the teenage years! Bud's bone is not lengthening. It's hung up on the inter-medulary nail they hammered into his femur LAST MONTH. So after four weeks of wrenching him four times a day and causing lots of pain - nothing happened. Very frustrating! The second surgery he had failed to correct this. Now, we are trying one more thing and then await another possible surgery.....And yet, I digress, this is not the topic of my blog!
No, the topic is the master manipulation put forth by my six year old, Goober. He's a tremendous kid, full of life, joy, laughter and mischief. I will grow old raising him and get most of my laugh lines at the same time!
Goober is in the best care. He is getting more attention than any six year old should get. Grandma, Grandpa and Dad all there. I call in twice a day, just to say howdy! In short, he's FINE! But, his school is very sensitive to the fact that he is a poor 'motherless' child - since Bud also goes to this school. So, Goober's in class (on the very same day I'm in the hospital with Bud) and decides that he needs to talk about how much he misses me. There were tears and theatrics of biblical proportions! The principal called me on my cell phone, which doesn't work in hospitals, to let him talk to me. The teacher gave him a stuffed animal to take home with him. The entire brew-haha result was highly satisfying for my son.
Satisfying until "Bad Mom" entered the picture! Please keep in mind that I have no doubt my son misses me. Jeepers, I'm not THAT bad! I just sat here listening to a Principal regale me with the story and saw red! Not that 'he made a scene' kind of embarrassed mad. No it was more the realization that he, at six, is such a master of manipulation! He read his teacher like a crystal ball. Boy, did he milk it for all it was worth!
So, Goober gets on the phone with me and, when asked about his day, says NOTHING about the incident at school. When I specifically asked he says, with a lilt in his voice,"I got to go to the Principal's office and get to keep the raccoon (stuffed) for the rest of the year!". Needless to say he was surprised to hear my ever so focused response - "Don't ever pull that again!". Nope, there was no sympathetic, "Oh, honey, I'm so sorry that you missed me. I miss you too!" or "I'm so glad your principal is there to help you out when you are feeling sad!" Just a stone cold, "Don't ever pull that again! followed by a stern speech on the evils of manipulating people. It was not the reaction he expected!
Probably not the best response, according to Dr. Phil, but I stand by it! The absolute last thing I need is for my six year old to think he can manipulate everyone with a few tears! Trust me, if you knew Goober you wouldn't be sitting there judging me so harshly. He is a true Irishman! So much charm and personality, it simply oozes from him!
There are so many challenges to our lives as military families and add to that the additional challenge of being an 'exceptional' family. The last thing I need is for the school to be the place he chooses to manipulate when things are upset in the house - as they often are! Jeepers, if he threw a fit every time Papa Bear went TDY, we'd be in real trouble! When your spouses go TDY or deploy, could you stand to have the kids making an issue of this when it was convenient or want them to see this as an opportunity to manipulate those around them? I'm good with expressing emotions, but I draw the line a blatant manipulation - esp in school. My poor kids get no slack there! Just ask Bud, he's got to complete all his school work regardless of procedures, pain and surgeries and a report on the aurora borealis!!!! I'm thinking I've got another bad mom story in the making here!