By Diane Ako
Olivia constantly does things that amaze and amuse us. She was both very bad, then very good, in the same day.
It started with a scuffle at school. She slapped a classmate and got sent to the principal's office. Uh oh. When it's this bad, the parent gets a call in the middle of the day.
It's funny, because you think your child will never do these things. We listened as the school staff informed us of the punishment protocol during orientation, but we both though, Oh, that'll never be our angel.
And then it was our angel. Not even the end of first quarter and our daughter is in trouble.
To make it worse, I could not answer the telephone all day. Of all days, I had back-to-back meetings and then all kinds of priority tasks that needed to be finished by the end of the work day, which came 10 hours after I began it. Yes, it was that kind of day. So now it's dark and I'm driving home and I'm worried the principal thinks I'm a jerk for not calling back.
I had updated Claus about this, so he dealt with it when he picked her up from school. Apparently, she was already repentant.
Firstly, he asked her if anything interesting happened today. Within two minutes, she confessed to the crime.
They talked about it and she got her lecture on propriety and manners. She apologized and said she wouldn't do it again.
Secondly, when they got home, he started cooking dinner. "Daddy, you are so busy cooking, I should help you clean. Let me sweep the floor," she offered, and went to get the broom and dustpan. She swept the entire living room. She did a pretty good job.
Thirdly, she initiated her homework session and did it quickly and without complaint. "I thought I picked up the wrong child from school," Claus laughed.
Lastly, it was also her idea to make a card for the girl she hit, so her last act of the evening before bedtime was to decorate a card and write I am sorry for hitting you Paige.
I felt bad that I got home after she was asleep, but in the debrief with Claus, he felt she got the message and that this is part of the learning curve of growing up.
In the morning, I asked gently if anything unusual happened yesterday. Olivia summed up the day. I didn't want to hammer away at the negative stuff so I focused on the lesson learned and praised her for her mitigation actions.
Luckily, I have an excellent relationship with the teacher (at least, I'd like to think so!), and I talked to the teacher when I dropped Olivia off at school. To my relief, she echoed Claus' sentiments.
I'm glad that Olivia seems to have learned from this incident, but I sure wish it would not have to take something like this to get her to clean and cooperate!