Yesterday I got a call from the daycare about Helen. Apparently, for the 2nd day in a row, she has called one of her classmates "idiot." The teacher had put her in timeout the first time, thinking it was a one-time deal, so she didn't call to tell me. When Helen did it again the next day, the punishment was both timeout and a phone call to mom.
With steam pouring out of my ears, I gritted my teeth and said, "I'll handle it. Can you put Helen on the phone?" I could hear the teacher say, "Helen, your mom wants to talk to you." In the background, I could hear Helen's response: "Nooo!" and the teacher said, "Take your hands off your ears - your mom wants to talk to you." There was some negotiating back & forth, but the teacher couldn't get Helen to take the call.
(At this point, your line is "Oh, no, she didn't!")
I told the teacher I'd be out there shortly to deal with her. She thanked me, and we hung up. I made plans to leave work around lunch.
Often, when the bizarre child-rearing event takes place, I call my sister for a little support or a good laugh.
Mandy: So, you're going to drive over there and beat her?
Jennie: (laughing) I'm trying to picture what our mom would have done if we had tried that.
Mandy: She would have gone through the phone. THROUGH THE PHONE.
Jennie: (picturing it, wincing) Yeah. She would. It's too bad the daycare is so far, I can't be there right away. Is yours still close to where your husband works?
Mandy: Yep. And he would be there in a heartbeat. "Hold on to this for a minute, I'll be right back."
Jennie: I can't even stay for lunch. It can't be a treat, like I show up to eat with her.
Mandy: She's got to know you're serious. THROUGH THE PHONE.
Fortunately for Helen, some co-workers talked me down, and instead I called her back about an hour later. Helen took the call that time, because she had forgotten all about it by then. Oh, how I ambushed that kid. I told her in no uncertain terms what she did wrong (including not taking the call), and that we would be having a very long talk with Mommy & Daddy about it at dinner.
Later, when I came to pick her up, her first reaction was her usual excitement to see me, and then she froze as she remembered she was in trouble. She cautiously approached me and I told her to get her jacket and get ready to go. We headed out to the car, and while my usual question is, "So, Helen, what did you do today?" Helen pre-empted all of that by saying as we drove out of the parking lot, "Mommy, I don't want to talk about my day today."
Yeah, yeah. As if that ever worked with my mom. Dear Reader, you'll be thrilled to learn it didn't work with me, either.