Yesterday, Hezekiah, Zeke and Akila all started their afterschool classes for the new session. The afterschool buses are usually late on the first day and I expected this. The bus was scheduled to arrive at 5:18, which is 20 minutes earlier than last session, not sure if that is a realistic time. They weren't home by 6:00 so Imani and I walked down to the bus stop. And waited until 6:30. I tried to call the school and got no answer. Shortly after 6:30, I received a call from someone on the bus saying they were stuck and waiting for a new bus. They arrived home at about 6:40 then.
About an hour later, I received a call from a little girl's mom telling me that Akila and another girl had been hitting her daughter on the bus and she had welts on her face. This is a little girl in 1st grade, who Akila has been friends with. Akila is in 5th grade. I apologized, said I would talk to her about it, told her it was not OK and I was glad she had called me. She said she had called the school and would be going in to school in the morning, which made sense to me.
I talked to Akila about it last night. About the fact that she is 4 years older than this girl, and about how scared this girl must have been to having a 5th grader hitting her, let alone one she thought was her friend. We had been online looking at new shoes for Akila that we were going to order, so I put a stop to the order and told her I would not be getting her new shoes at this point as I was disappointed. The night went south from there. Very south. Bedtime was rough. Very rough.
This morning, I sent her to school and anxiously awaited the call from the school. I even tried to call the Asst. Principal a few times. Then the call came, I went down to the school and went to the Asst. Principal's (AP) office. It is a very weird feeling I have learned. I remember in my last year of elementary school, my friends and I had never been in trouble or sent to the Principal's office. In our school, you had to sit in the hallway when you were in trouble. We always knew who was in trouble as they were sitting in the hallway. On the last week of 6th grade, my friends and I went running down the 2nd floor hallway during lunch. We were not suppose to be upstairs during lunch. We tried to get caught, we were, and we had to sit in the hallway. Just wanted to experience it I guess. That was enough for me.
Now I get to experience it as an adult, and I have not idea what to do or say. Honestly, I had talked to Akila about it last night, given her a few consequences immediately, and said we would wait and see what happened today. So, when I sit in the office with her and the Principal, and her fabulous Para, I pretty much just keep my mouth closed. I try not to make excuses, I try not to lecture, as I did last night, and I know that I will do more at home. But I honestly wonder what the staff must think.
Do I come off too quiet, not hard enough, complacent? Part of it, is that I just feel deflated. I don't know what else to do. We can talk to Akila about other choices she could have made until we are blue in the face, and it doesn't seem to help. Part of it is selfish. Suspension is a punishment on my own mental health, seriously. I understand that the school has to have a consequence, and I understand that this is serious. This must have been scary for this little girl. But I honestly silently cried the whole drive home. And thankfully Akila was quiet and did not speak a word. I think she sensed my emotions and I am very thankful for that.
The truth is that I know we are slowly entering a new phase of life and it scares me. She has been suspended three times this year, and I don't expect it to stop. One thing that I am going to do that should help greatly, is start driving the kids to and from school, I have been putting this off for awhile and it is time. It is just a little challenging being that their school is downtown, but I will do it and I will like it. :)
4th and 5th grade is when the FASD books say that these kids usually start to have many more challenges, and they aren't lying. We have a long road ahead, and I need to get my head back in the game. I just need a day or two to feel emotional first, I think.
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