Home > Monday Minute > Monday Minute: A Cloudy Day (aka The Dark Side Of The Foorce)

Monday Minute: A Cloudy Day (aka The Dark Side Of The Foorce)

It’s good that May is over so I can stop acting like I deserve a “mother of the year” pin and go back to my whiny, rotten self. My rant this evening has to do with the end of James’s school year. That being said, I want to make sure that nobody reads this as a complaint about James’s specific school when I say that the end of year school schedule (or lack of one) is ruining the last two months of fifth grade for us.

Let me give you some examples: this week, Monday was field day (except it rained so it wasn’t), tomorrow is a half day, Wednesday is now field day make up (unless they bump it to next Tuesday), Thursday is a day off and Friday is “Friday Fun Day,” as have been the last several Fridays of fifth grade. Next week includes field day makeups (maybe), another half day and the 5th grade class trip. Until recently, James had only lost his ipod privileges on 3 mornings since Christmas. Over the last month he has earned it 1-2 times per week at the most.

I feel like schools have become so centered around standardized testing (which James is exempt from) that once the tests are over it’s almost like, okay, what now? In the case of James’s school, what now = parties, field trips, field days, fun days, concerts, ice cream socials, class trips, graduation parties, award ceremonies, half days and days off. Really? We couldn’t just call it a year 4 weeks early?

Like I said, I know that this is not specific to James’s school (where we have had many positive experiences over the last 4 years), but it is so frustrating to watch James, who is absolutely at his best with a (somewhat) predictable, calm schedule, deteriorating before my eyes. Spacey, tired, moody, emotional, defiant, and did I mention spacey? Like a rocket ship? He desperately wants to do everything everyone else in his class does (except for the loud stuff) but as you can tell from last week’s accident, keeping up is not going well for him. Every Friday “fun day,” I come to the school yard to observe James standing off to the side of a kickball game by himself (with his para), or even worse, by himself and looking upset because the music is “too loud” or because some of the kids brought “snaps” to school (man, I used to love snaps).

99% of you who know James would classify him as mild-mannered, well-mannered, and generally an obedient, sweet child. Well, I’m here to let you in on a little secret – that well behaved child is the result of very carefully orchestrated efforts by this entire family (fine, mostly me). I think with the craziness of school over the past weeks, the throng of family members (whom James loved seeing) in town this weekend for the Central Park challenge was the proverbial straw in a camel’s back of a week. And it’s only Monday.

But I digress – here’s an insider’s glimpse at the dark side of the foorce (come on, it was just glaring me in the face). This is one minute of James’s record 7 time outs this afternoon – and remember, he got home at 3:30 and went to bed at 7:30.


James is in italics, my responses are in bold (they should be in flames tonight)

Margaret, what are you reading?

M: Harold and the purple crayon.

Do you want me to read this truck book to you? Say yes.

M: No thanks.

Say yes.

James, what did I ask you to do?


What are you supposed to be doing right now?

I don’t want to.

Go get your pajamas on right now, it’s getting late.

(James groans loudly in frustration, turns around and throws the truck book across the room)

You’re mean!

And you’re in time out.


Yes, go right now. Go to time out and don’t come out until you are in pajamas and ready to apologize for throwing that book.

No. I don’t want to.

Then just go to time out – right now!

(James sits on the couch defiantly)

James do not make me come get you off the couch.

You’re the problem! You’re a bully! It’s not time for pajamas yet!

(I stand up. James storms into his room and slams the door. Three times.)

James stop it right now, you’re going to pinch someone’s fingers in the door!

(Door stays closed, instead James screams at the top of his lungs and items start hitting the door – I open the door a crack)

James, we are going to start our family movie – you may not come out until you are in pajamas and have apologized. You will miss the movie if your behavior doesn’t change. Right. Now. And you have to pick up all of these books that you just threw. 

10 minutes later:

Margaret I’m sorry for screaming. Adam I’m sorry for slamming the door. Can I please sit down?

How about, Mom, I’m sorry for talking back and not following instructions all evening?

Sooorrrrrry. (face crumples) I’m really tired and it’s hard to follow instructions.

You still have to do it. You may join us if you can be peaceful and quiet.


Which he was, until 20 minutes later when I announced it was time to pause the movie until tomorrow and get ready for bed.

I think I’d better hang on tight – it’s going to be a bumpy ride until June 27th.

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