This morning my kindergartener was tiffed at me at drop off. We drop off at the back of the school, so there’s not a lot of traffic/kids and plenty of time to pick a fight. Between the time that he huffed out the back door of the car and started mad-fast-walking up the sidewalk and when I finished loading up his sister with her backpack, lunchbox, water bottle, and freshly-potted mint plant for her teacher’s birthday, I had lost sight of him, and he was gone.
I wondered if I should have made him stay and talk it out until he “got it”, but we were running late and I needed to get to work. We’ve been having a lot of disagreements lately, mostly centered around all the “work” it takes to get ready to go to school each morning and also about me “bossing” him and not allowing him to do the things he wants to do when he wants to do them. I feeel a little bad about this. It’s hard to make the adjustment to “big kid” school, and I try to remind myself that the boy’s paternal genetics make him predisposed to having a serious problem with authority.
I watched sister until she joined one of her friends on her way in to school, and then I pulled away. I started to think about the fact that my boy likes to sit and sulk when he is angry (thanks to his maternal genetics), and I worried that he had not gone into school at all, but had instead followed the back fence line of school property toward the playground. The teacher who guards the back door can’t see the drop-off point due to a new modular classroom that hulks in the parking lot, so she would never have seen Cal if he did this. I should have done a better job teaching him that hiding and sulking is not a good way to deal with anger. I felt the worry worm in my rib cage start to wriggle.
A block later, I rationalized that I could call the front office and have them check and make sure that Callen had made it to his classroom. But, then I thought about what a lousy mom I must be, that I can’t even keep track of my kid for the 100 yards he walks from the street to the back door of the school, and what would the secretaries think of such a request? If he doesn’t show up, they’ll call me, I thought. But, I knew I didn’t want to spend my morning worrying and waiting for a phone call that I really didn’t want to get, and I didn’t want to be viewed as negligent.
One cul-de-sac later, I turned around. I went back to the back-door drop off, parked, and walked up to the school, all the while scanning the grounds for signs of Callen. I didn’t see him. As I neared the door, I thought I would check with the teacher there to see if he had gone by. And then I started to feel silly, and like a helicopter parent, but also assured that my kid was definitely inside the school building. So, I walked back to my car, and thereby clocked a new all-time record for the range and levels of mommy guilt experienced prior to 9am.