The way my work schedule is set up right now I have about five minutes after my daughter arrives home from school before I have to leave. Usually Hubs and I will wait for the bus together so I get to see her. Yesterday: my Little did not get off the bus.
As a parent when your child doesn’t arrive somewhere they’re supposed to be it is one of the most terrifying things you can ever experience. This was the first time she’d just not gotten off the bus. Hubs and I stood there dumbfounded for a moment as the neighbor kids walked home. Thankfully they were able to tell us that she was on the bus so we calmed down a bit, but I was still freaking out as mothers do when their babies are lost. So I hopped in the van and chased the damn bus for three blocks like a maniac.
First of all, I adore our bus driver. He’s former military and always punctual which is a wonderful change from last year when we never knew who was coming/driving or when. He’s strict, but compassionate and he genuinely cares for the kids in his charge. I’m following him in the car honking and waving and he didn’t bat an eye. He didn’t stop he didn’t waver he was going to do his job. He had two more stops after ours, I missed him at the first stop but at the second I leapt out of the car and ran half a damn block to catch him.
Once I got to the front of the bus he explained that she was on the bus but he couldn’t let her off until he went back around to our stop. Which was totally fine with me, as long as she was accounted for and I didn’t have to drive across town to the bus barn. Little had other ideas and bolted through the doors before he could stop her neglecting all the basic bus safety rules.
Which lead to the conversation with the driver that she had been neglecting the bus safety rules most of the year. He was frustrated. As he should have been, but hadn’t yet had an opportunity to speak with me or relay the message to the school. He took the opportunity to say something while we were blocking traffic lol. Priorities am I right?
Anyway… after I collected my errant Little and took her home Hubs and I set about trying to figure out what the hell happened for her to just not get off the bus at her stop. My first grader, who just turned seven, failed a social studies test. She was devastated and didn’t want to come home to tell us.
Which broke my heart into a million pieces. Hubs and I have never told her that she should be ashamed of failing a test. We hold her accountable for finishing her home work and paying attention in class, of course, but never have we put emphasis on her grades like that. I don’t know where on Earth she got the idea that she couldn’t come home, or that grades matter so much in first damn grade. This is actually her first year receiving grades at all, and she’s excelling in almost everything.
What made things even worse is that she only failed one subject out of all the tests she took this week. The other ones were all B or above with two A+! She did so well on everything else, but that one bad grade ruined her entire day to the point where she didn’t even want to get off the bus. This was her first experience with failure at school, and after a good conversation with Hubs and I she seemed to be feeling better.
Parenting is hard. If you’re too strict it breeds hatred and malcontent toward authority. If you’re not strict enough it breeds entitlement and laziness. Finding the balance is next to impossible.