It was 8:30am on Thursday. I was finishing in the shower after staying in bed an extra 2hrs to make up for going to bed at 3am after a black tie holiday party with 1400 lawyers or lawyers’ spouses/partners/dates. Everyone else in the house was gone–my bride was driving the younger 2 to their preschools–so when the home phone rang, I girded my loins in the nearest towel and slogged across the bathroom and bedroom to look at the damned phone. It was Maddie’s school. I answered.
Maddie wasn’t hurt. She was in trouble.
Her assistant principal said something about a pushing incident and then reminded me of a hitting incident from last month and another incident at recess and…was there a man outside reaching for the hide-a-key? The assistant principal continued talking as I watched the man come into the back door and heard footsteps heading down the hall toward our room.
I ran into our bathroom, holding my cell in my left hand and the home phone in my right–still dripping wet in a towel–while the phrase “in school suspension” was uttered, followed by a question about Maddie’s behavior at home when I finally interrupted her:
Me: “I’m sorry, but I really can’t talk right now. I’m in a towel after leaving the shower to answer the phone, and some dude is in my house whom I don’t know, and my wife is calling my cell. I need you to call her, as I can’t answer your questions anyway. Her number is…”
I rattled off the 10 digits, hung up, and looked out the bathroom window at the white Ford Festiva parked in the driveway. Wait. Was there writing on the windshield? Was today Thursday?
I stuck my head out the bathroom door and greeted the husband from the husband/wife team who has cleaned our house every other week for the past five years or so. His name’s Rodrigo, I think. I felt like a pussy.
I dried off, dressed, boiled some eggs, and packed a lunch. By that time, I figured enough time had passed that I could call my bride and get debriefed (I’d texted “Maddie in trouble at school. Call from ass.principal forthcoming” after hanging up with the school).
She pulled back into the driveway a few minutes after I called. I learned Ms Assistant Principal was not real happy with my dismissive and abrupt ending of our conversation, but more importantly, my bride was not real happy with our apparent failure to teach our little girl not to hit people who aren’t behaving well in her eyes.
My sweet little girl, despite repeated instructions regarding how to handle conflict healthily, appears to be a bully.
She never had behavior issues like this in her years of Montessori preschool; it’s just begun since starting 1st grade at the local public elementary school a few months ago: the one we moved our family of 6 last year to let her attend.
And now we have to figure out how the hell to stop it.