Last night, as I was cleaning the kitchen and getting ready to go to bed, I found this letter.
"Dear Mom, I need more breakfast. I am hungry."
Umph. As I wrote before, life has been fairly... busy... lately.
OK. As a teacher, I totally would have had a child write this letter. The child complains that she's hungry during a lesson. And, to give her something productive to do about it, I'd tell her to write a letter. The writing distracts her from the hunger, gives her writing practice, and gives her a way to solve the problem. Don't just complain - do something! As a teacher, I totally appreciate this letter.
From a parenting perspective... OMG. First the guilt... my poor daughter is hungry during the day! I'm not providing for her... then... wait a minute... let's talk about this breakfast thing a bit, OK? There are two of us involved in this early morning scenario.
I'd love to give you more breakfast in the morning. That sounds lovely. Here's our new plan.
1) I will wake you up twenty to thirty minutes earlier so you have time to eat the breakfast I make you.
2) You will immediately jump out of bed, put your clothes on, brush your teeth, brush your hair, and bound down the stairs without yelling at me, your father, your sister, or the cat.
3) You will quickly tell me exactly what you want for breakfast after I give you a choice between two options.
4) You won't change your mind after I've started making what you originally chose.
5) We won't fight about the fact that I'm not preparing a new breakfast for you because you changed your mind.
6) You will quickly eat your breakfast.
7) You will choose a piece of fruit from the beautiful fruit bowl that sits directly in front of you. You don't just pick the sticker off the orange and then hide it under the table, but you eat the orange as an additional part of your breakfast.
8) You will finish your food without announcing "you are full" after taking two bites so you can go play.
This sounds like an excellent plan. I don't want you to be hungry in school. Let's work together to solve this one, OK?
Today we started the new plan. It didn't go as expected. Or, as hoped. It kind of went as expected.
Dear Parents of my Previous Students,
I am so sorry for ever having a child write you a letter like this. I had no idea the amount of guilt/frustration it would cause. I had no idea how trying to get kids ready in the morning is like working a full day. I did it out of love, as I'm sure my daughter's teacher did. But... yeah... I'm sorry.