November 3, 2021

road trip prep, picture day, DON'T OVERTHINK THIS, & not a head slam

We drove to Creighton to see Tank for family weekend mid September. The days before we left were FULL. Let me tell you.

It was picture day at school. I laid out the boys' one decent collared shirt. It was a day that Alice, our worker, stopped by to check on the boys. She needed to see their room. I had already spent an hour at therapy with one of them. Alice's visit was stretching on longer than expected. I had THINGS TO DO, so I decided to pull out clothes for the next day during her visit. Later she'd grill me while I made dinner.

She assured me things were going wonderfully. I looked at her with my head tilted to one side:  YOU REALLY THINK SO?  Interesting, because I felt like we were barely surviving. Were we handling their issues properly? She felt so. Hmm. OK. 

Larry said he wasn't wearing no collared shirt to school. Alice helped him understand that it was how picture day went. All the kids would be dressed up. She also asked:  Have you seen the Shenanigan wall o' fame in the family room? All the kids are dressed up in their photos. 

He seemed to get on board with it. The next morning when I went downstairs to workout, Larry was awake crazy-ass early. So was Harry. Larry didn't have on the collared shirt.

Larry:  Not my fault someone else took it. 

Me:  You think Reg borrowed your shirt? Because I don't think it would fit him.

Harry admitted that Larry came back in the room, turned on the lights, and woke him up because he was digging in his drawers to get clothes out. 

This boiled my blood. I purposely leave their clothes in the hall, so Larry won't re-enter the room. Harry NEEDS more sleep than Lar, but he rarely gets it. He hears Larry wake up and he worries as usual that he might be missing something. 

Before they left for school, I went upstairs and found Larry's shirt in the bottom of the dirty clothes basket. Still folded. He put it there. 

He freaked when I brought it downstairs. Thankfully, Coach was home that morning. The boys love taking the bus to school. They see their friends. I decided to use it as leverage. You give me trouble, then you don't get on the bus. If I have to drive you and you inconvenience me, watch out. 

Love it when they accidentally
post without faces.
 This is Curly with Larry during a 'no-shirt'
moment we were all on board with while
 wearing one of two bathing suits
that I bought him. He loved them both.
 Thank goodness.

Larry was told no shirt, no bus. 

Eventually, he put it on and made it to the bus on time. Later, I got a call from the school. Larry got in a fight at school on the playground and would have to do an in school suspension the next day. Swell. 

Apparently a known pain-in-the-ass kid called him names. Larry pushed him. That's considered violent behavior. On the way to Creighton a few days later, I emailed the school to let them know that Larry pushing a bully should not be weighted as heavily as a kid calling him names. He started it, damn it. 

That night I cut the boys' hair. I wanted to cut it before picture day, but I was nervous that I would scalp them again. Their haircuts turned out super cute and I kicked myself for not doing it before the pics. 

Larry has a hard time remembering kids' names. We borrowed a yearbook from last year and while I cut Harry's hair, Mini went through the yearbook with Lar. The school wouldn't tell us who this ass wipe was, but I had other means. Not like I was going to surround his house, although that thought did cross my mind, but I wanted to run some intel and see what this kid was about. I asked Larry if he happened to mention to this twerp that he had 5 older brothers. 

Larry:  No, but I should tell him that Reg is jacked. 

Spoken like a true Shenanigan. Larry made a positive ID of the hooligans and his cronies. I filed away the info. 

Later, Alice would ask me if I though perhaps Larry didn't want to wear the shirt because having his pic taken and appearing on the wall 'o fame meant joining the family and that might be ultimately what he wants but also a big step for him. 


The kid cares about wearing top notch, dry-fit workout clothes. The end. Fortunately for him, I buy him a ton of it on sale, I'm good like that. 

Sometimes I cannot handle the read-between-the-lines nonsense.

The next morning it was Harry's turn to be a pain in the neck. He failed to eat his grapes the day before at lunch. I found them in his backpack and was like - WELL, FRUIT AT BREAKFAST IT IS. I'm not getting in a car to road trip with a backed up kid. He wasn't having it. I said, don't eat all of them but eat some of them. I was on the workout bike. He was melting down. Shaking the bike while I was riding it. Kicking it. Throwing things at me. Coach was at work. 

Me:  That's it. No bus for you. (channeling my inner:  NO SOUP FOR YOU guy from Seinfeld).

Harry:  Oh, yes I'm taking the bus. You can't stop me. 

In hindsight, I wished I'd just let him get on the bus. He wasn't ready to go with his computer or lunch packed or anything. I could've driven to the school afterwards and told the school that he needed to come home until he agreed to behave properly. 

The boys always walk out the back slider door. He tried it, but I stood in front of it. He bolted for the garage door. I had my hand up at the top of the garage door in a flash. He tried to pull it open while squeezing out of it at the same time. The door bounced off of my stopping-the-door's-motion hand and then bumped him on the side of the head. The door is right up against the wall of the mudroom. So his head had no where to go. He started screaming that I slammed the door on his head. 

I assured him that I was not trying to slam his head in a door. That would look VERY different. Still. It was draining. I was shaking. 

Anyone else ENJOY riding in the school bus as a kid? I always wished we lived close enough to walk. (how about that for a transition from a very unsettling moment in time to light and fluffy childhood memories?)


Suzanne said...

<3 So very sorry to hear about all these struggles.

Anonymous said...

Sad that the little guy was getting bullied, I hope he was able to use that big brother line if it ever happened again, or that it didn’t happen again. Those strong willed, highly emotional, moments sound exhausting.
I didn’t love the bus, but didn’t hate it. We lived close enough to ride a bike to school in Jr High and I did love that. My school-age kiddo likes to ride the bus and that’s great for me because then I don’t have to load up the little kids into car seats to drive her. The car line at our school is so bad. The school sent an email that 70% of the families drive/pick up and to please have patience, because people were getting frustrated with the wait time. So ya, definitely prefer the bus for my kid compared to that unnecessary chaos.

Jenny in WV said...

Ugh...Mornings can be rough enough without any extra battles.
A friend's dad once said "Hindsight is 50/50". Hopefully, you'll all figure out how to have easier mornings (and nights and meals and library visits and bathroom breaks).

I suppose I didn't mind the bus too much when it was a short-ish (less than 15 minute ride). My grandpa drove me to school for most of elementary so I only rode the bus home. When I was in Kindergarten the bus ran out of gas on the way home and I remember crying fearing I'd be stuck there (a whole 3/4 miles from my bus stop), so I guess it wasn't always great.

The ride to Country Bumpkin Consolidated High was a lot longer, but I perfected the art of going back to sleep on the bus.

Ally Bean said...

Sorry to read about this. No advice about what to do.

Growing up my school district didn't have the funds for buses so I walked to school. Sometimes it was a couple of blocks away, other times it was a mile or so away. Good exercise really

Kara said...

In elementary school (a very small, old school "neighborhood" school) we were one of a handful of students who were outside the 2 mile radius. So we got to take the bus. Because there were so few students, but a larger geographic area (and limited buses) the bus ride home took forever. We were the last on the bus going to school and the last off the bus going home from school. I hated it.

Ernie said...

Suzanne - Thanks. Not sure if it sounds as tough as the real life version, but it was very trying.

Ernie said...

AM - Yes, those were some exhausting times. The bullying at school actually got out of hand SO FAST. Sigh. It's a long story.

I mostly disliked taking the bus. We were the first picked up and the last off - it added about 45 minutes to our school day. I just wanted to get home.

Ernie said...

Jenny - I feel like all of these stories make it sound like our expectations were too high. That we were being unreasonable, but really there was just SOMETHING at every turn. Very little breathing room. Life was so challenging. Not sure whether to keep on sharing, or just wrap it all up and try to write the conclusion. It's very hard. My feelings are everywhere. I'm not holding up all that well, if I'm being honest.

Your high school bus ride from way out there sounds dreadful.

Ernie said...

Ally - That's just it, I now wonder if it was smart to keep our adoption plans to ourselves. Maybe someone along the way would've said, HEY, HAVE YOU CONSIDERED THIS. As far as advice goes, not sure there is much available that would help. Either before the process or during.

My BFF in grade school was a 'walker' - I was so jealous because she could walk home for lunch everyday. I disliked my uppity Catholic grade school and I would've given my right arm to walk home for lunch to just get out of there for a little while. (I'm a lefty, but still).

Ernie said...

Kara - That was my bus experience. We attended a Catholic school so the bus went all over the place. My bus ride dropped me home 45 minutes after the school day ended. I also didn't have a single other girl in my grade on the bus and I would've liked a buddy.

Pat Birnie said...

My heart just aches for all of you. This sounds incredibly tough.

Busy Bee Suz said...

This is painful for me, and I'm not actually living it. Again, you are a saint for not drop-kicking a kid out the door.

Totally laughing at your and the kids trying to get Intell on the bully. #teamwork

I was always bussed. In Elementary school in Florida, we were bussed way across town about 45 minutes away. Crazy. I hated the bus!

Jenny in WV said...

I don't think you sound unreasonable. Your rules seem normal middle class to me. Dress nicer for picture day and the occasional "if you don't eat [specific side dish] at this meal you get it again at the next" are perfectly normal parental expectations.

It's your blog and your family and your life, so you can share as much or as little and in whatever order you want.

Reality isn't always pretty and I'm glad that you are sharing that. Whatever the outcomes, I will say a prayer for you all.

Ernie said...

Pat - Thanks. It really is so hard. I decided to write the end first, or midway here. Just finished drafting it. Eating my breakfast and then re-read and posting it. Some people read the end of a book before they start the book - well, I just learned about this during my book club . . . I was blown away that this is a thing. So, the end is coming in the next hour or so.

Ernie said...

Suz - I'm laughing at your 'painful for me and I'm not living it' remark. Sheesh - sorry for the pain transfer. ;)

OMG the bullying. Like, right or wrong we are old school and no one AND I MEAN no one messes with our people. This kid stepped in it without realizing who he was messing with.

No kid should be stuck on a bus for that long. Who wants to miss time that much time to be a kid?

Ernie said...

Jenny - Thanks for this. I appreciate it. Today is my day off, so I decided to just write the ending. Order is over-rated. I need to give myself a break and let myself off the hook. Whether it makes sense or not, the end is coming. It is crazy long. A nice weekend read. Probably no one will even know it is there because I'm posting it when I'm done eating my breakfast after I've re-read it. Not my normal posting time. What's normal anyway? I appreciate the prayer. Day to day life has been a real struggle lately.