Thursday, April 24, 2008

1.4 Miles

Ross wanted to wear scrubby shorts to school this morning, something neither Chris nor I thought was a good idea. Ross pitched an impressive fit for that early in the morning. I'm not much for anything before my coffee, though, so he got a rather lukewarm reception from me (I try to care about things before I've had my coffee but it's really, really hard to do) and a distracted reception from Chris who was trying to get lunches ready and really didn't have time for such snottiness. I told Ross that he'd have to walk to school if he missed the bus.

A few minutes before the bus, fit still in progress, Chris decided he'd drive the boys to school. They had hockey tryouts last night and skated hard (both made their teams!) so Chris was willing to afford them (ok, Lars, at least) a bit of grace.

Twenty minutes later, fit still in progress, Chris loaded Lars into the car and took him to school. I'd had some coffee by then, and took my freshly defrosted verbal skills upstairs. I calmly told Ross that he was not going to wear shorts to school today and that I would be taking him to school as soon as I'd put my shoes on. He whined about not wanting to wear pants, so I told him he didn't have to wear pants if he didn't want to. He couldn't wear shorts but if he wanted to go without pants I guessed that was among his rights to activate.

Shoes on, I picked up my wallet and sunglasses and headed to the car. I was fully prepared to return and carry a squirming child to the car but Ross actually came out of the house wearing pants! He was stomping ferociously but he was wearing a parent-approved set of clothes (I can't call and orange shirt with red pants an 'outfit'). As we pulled out of the driveway, I reminded Ross that he'd be walking to school. Still, he seemed totally shocked when we got to the top of the ridge and I pulled over!

244.7 (triptych) Ross ejected onto the first sidewalk between us and the school. I tuned in NPR, turned on my hazards, and started leap-frogging him.

244.8 Amazingly, Ross was actually walking toward the school at a steady pace without any sort of resistance.

244.9 Cross-street. I waited on the near corner for Ross to check both ways and start to cross then drove slowly through the intersection myself, sort of blocking him.

245.0 Ross caught up to the car, leaned in an handed me a freshly picked, long stemmed dandelion. He was smiling shyly.

245.1 Ross caught up to the car again and leaned in with, "Mama, thank you for taking me to school." He looked and sounded sincere.

245.2 Sidewalk ran out; I told Ross to get in the car. He buckled in and we proceeded slowly along the road. I asked if we're going to have more mornings like this one and, without hesitation, he replied, "That depends on whether you and Daddy will let me wear shorts."

245.3 More sidewalk; Ross ejected again.

245.5 I had the car at the bottom of a wide stretch of hill, the farthest ahead I'd been of Ross because I have a clear rear view of him and there were no intersecting roads. About halfway down the hill, he dodged around a tree and started to sprint, calling out gleefully, "I caught up to you!" as he flew past the car and slowed again to a walk. I thought it was probably good for him to run - maybe it would render him too tired to torment his teacher and class?

245.7 No sidewalk again. Ross got in the car. I asked if we're going to have more mornings like this one and, without hesitation, he replied, "That depends on whether you and Daddy will let me wear shorts." My kids are nothing like me, remember?

245.9 Sidewalk again. Ejected again. This time, I parked and walked with Ross since I couldn't drive the car through the back walk-in entry to the school grounds and was unwilling to give him the luxury of a ride around to the front. We chatted along the way, Ross about Avatar and me about respect. It's great when the lines of communication between generations are so open, you know?

246.1 I confronted the school's late sign-in register, which wanted a reason for the tardy arrival. What should I put? Insolence? Costume malfunction? I decided to crib another parent's lame answer and wrote "drop-off" in the box. It wasn't really a reason for the tardiness but I left the pen laying over that part of the page and figured I could make it out of the school before they read the log.

3:25pm Ross changes into play clothes - without being asked - before going outside to play. The war is far from over but I'm considering this battle a win for the parents.


Chaotic Joy said...

This is so great! He's up for a battle that one isn't he. I think you totally rocked the challenge. I definitely award you a point.

Sister K said...

sounds like ross and brandon might like to walk to school together! lol...actually, knowing ross, he prob. liked it. i recommend a wme pt. for supervising the walk so it was a safe walk! hey, maybe he'd like to walk or run in the morning before school. it'd prob. help him concentrate :)

Spice Girl said...

Points for that one, honey!

Epiphany Alone said...

I am totally writing "costume malfunction" the next time I need to jot an entry in our school tardy log.