Grounded

After reports of bad behavior at school – and a phone call home from his teacher – our first-grade son is grounded for the first time. For three days, there’s no playing outside, no TV or computer, no leaving his room after school, no dessert and no getting paid for jobs that normally earn him 25 cents.

Mrs. S. called one night this week to report the lunch ladies had to isolate him from the class after he was throwing grapes. “I dropped them,” he apparently told them. Uh-huh. And then he stomped on them. (Mrs. S. made him go back and clean them up.) In class that day, his desk mates complained he was making obnoxious noises and wouldn’t stop when they asked him to. (His teacher last year mentioned his animal noises, but we thought it went away.) His desk mates also ratted him out for throwing his pencil. I can just hear him saying, “No I wasn’t. I was dropping it.” Uh-huh.

And then the accelerated reading teacher, Mrs. C, told Mrs. S. that she must have her hands full with Eddie. Who? Mrs. S. said. Apparently he had been running around wild that day. (Mrs. S. told him that he wouldn’t get to have special reading time if he kept it up.)

Then there are lesser organizational problems. He doesn’t put his chair up on his desk at the end of the day unless Mrs. S. makes him do it. When it’s time to leave for the day, he avoids it by trying to sneak out the second door when she’s not looking. And his desk is a mess, with pencils and papers all over it and on the floor. The teacher asked if there were any problems at home.

Whose kid is this???

I know who to blame for the organizational part: me. I’m a pile maker, but I rationalize that I’m not as bad as my father. The mail, books, stuff from school, magazines to read, newspapers. It stacks up because I don’t want to deal with it – if I have six items that each need three to five minutes apiece, that’s half an hour, and I’d rather do other things. Like pay bills or scrub the toilet. So Tuesday night, my Lovely Bride and I swirled like a cyclone around the house and vanquished all the piles.

Wednesday morning as soon as he woke up, we came down on Eddie like a ton of bricks. Grounded for the rest of the week, with all privileges suspended including movie night, our Friday night TV time. (Otherwise, he earns TV or computer time by doing house jobs.) We told him sternly of our deep disappointment, and that poor behavior has consequences. Eddie seemed pretty upset.

A friend asked how we knew what to do for grounding him, and I said the cancellation of three days of afternoon outside play seemed like the natural first step. The rest we made up as we went along, like realizing that house arrest means nothing if you can play with all the toys in the basement – hence being confined to his room.

We’ve asked him each day if his behavior at school has improved, and if we’re going to get another phone call from his teacher. The first day, he said we might get a call saying how good he had been. Today he just said no. Of course this is the kid who had snowed us for who knows how long, so we’ll see what Friday’s weekly report home from the teacher says.

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3 responses to “Grounded

  1. Will

    You are not the first of the last parent to experience these joys of parenthood. You could ask the teacher to send you a short email at the end of each week to keep you posted on how things are going. I have done that kind of thing with multiple students. If the student knows there is open communication between the teacher and parent, it can really help. It is not hard for the teacher and she should appreciate that you are on board and willing to support her efforts at school.

  2. This is what I have to look forward too? Yikes!

    • So I never told you about Eddie’s little incident three days before the start of first grade? The one at the playground 2 blocks from our house where he poked little girls with safety pins?

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