I should have known it would be a weird day.
It started this morning, when I was trying to get LM out the door on time and he couldn't find his shoes. Since I harp every night about putting them in the same place... and they often don't get there... I raised my voice a tad this morning.
Which resulted in LM's tears. Argh. We'd had such a good run of peaceful, happy mornings.
I rushed home, got my Interview-A-Saurus outfit on, and off I went to an interview.
As soon as I was done, I ran home to change shoes and off to school. As I got out of my car, two tiny dogs came running up to me, barking furiously. They didn't attack, but their eyes looked like they were channeling hell hounds.
I should have headed the warning.
When I walked into the school library- where I volunteer weekly- the librarian is on her way out. She's sick and leaving. I am left with a woman that I have worked with before- I don't know her name, but she can be frustrating to work with because she'll interrupt me in the middle of doing my job in order to "show me" what I am already doing. She also has a very intense language barrier. I believe she is originally from China, and her English is very difficult to understand. I try to take the cultural difference into account when she does a number of rude things, and just try to smile and be kind.
Today, however, she was the sub for the librarian. And it was painful to watch.
To further add fun, it was my son's class in the library. One of his little friends- we'll call her Taz- has what appears to be a severe case of ADHD. For the past seven months, I often see her get in trouble, get sent to the hall, constantly redirected, etc. Earlier this week, she slapped my son in order to get his attention on the playground, because she wanted him to do her bidding. I try to redirect her and entertain her every week to keep her out of trouble, but it's a struggle.
Today it was impossible.
It was like someone had laced her lunch with Red Bull.
Generally, I feel sorry for these kinds of kids. Their little bodies betray them and make learning and behaving more difficult than it is for the average bear cub.
After all the gentle redirecting I could muster for the first 25 minutes of class, I noticed her throwing her headband on the floor next to her chair. It was a cute band with a little crystal flower on it- guaranteed to get crushed by all the mini-rhino children who were lumbering about.
"Taz," I tell her gently, "your headband is on the floor. Pick it up before it gets broken."
I turn to help a child tie his shoe, I redirect another leaking snot, and try to redirect the girl who goes to the nurses office weekly by pretending to be very interested in her coloring.
Headband still on the floor, all pink and ready to break.
Mind you, I am only a parent volunteer (but, as my old boss will tell you, I *used* to be a teacher. So I do take some pride in knowing the deal.)
"Taz," I say again, "Please pick up your headband before it gets broken."
I give her a minute to respond. She bounces around her chair, a challenge in her eyes. I move closer, while also fielding a request about where to put a certain book and commenting on more crayon creations.
"Hey Taz," I say, bending down to be at her face height, "if I have to tell you again to pick that up, I'm going to get it myself and take it to the office."
That just made her gleeful.
The response I get:
"I don't want to pick it up, mamamahshhshghahahhaahah!"
So, I walk over to the headband and pick it up. She thinks this is a fun game now, so she starts slamming against me, trying to claw the band out of my hand. This game is clearly less fun for me, and I have to push her arms down repeatedly to keep from losing an eye.
I walk over to the circulation desk, put the band down, and tell her she can have it back when the classroom teacher comes to pick up the class.
This doesn't bode well.
Now, my son had previously mentioned that his little friend often cries a lot when she gets in trouble, and I'd seen it happen before. Not like this, though.
She goes wild, flailing at me and at the desk, trying to get to the headband. It was like a horror movie. I kept using my calm teacher voice, but it was as effective as spitting on a fire.
Have I mentioned I am a volunteer? That I work for free? That I have other things that I could do for free?
Then she sits in the middle of the floor, sobbing, wailing. Luckily, it's a big place. I explain what's happening to the sub, and also to the high school student who comes in weekly to help too. The same student who had come to me 20 minutes earlier, also having problems with a rude and hyper Taz.
The other kids were at different stations around the room. There were a few comments, but it appeared that they had seen this scene before.
Finally the teacher comes, and I pull her in to explain the issue. She nods wearily- after all, this isn't her first time in the rodeo either. Taz is bouncing off kids in line at this point, then sits back down to have a good ole' meltdown. The teacher has a few words with her, then takes the class down the hall.
I give Taz a few minutes to sit there, letting her- I hope- self-calm.
And I try again, because I am a glutton for punishment.
"Taz, honey," I say, "I think that you can make some good choices now and join your class and make the rest of the day a good one."
I tried many similar statements, channeling a combo of Mr. Rodgers and Bob Ross.
Alas, there were no happy trees.
She finally leaves for class. Or maybe to get a chain saw. I'm not certain.
At this point, the next class is there. This is usually when I leave, but I agree to stay for a few minutes to help check everyone in.
Which turns into what my military friends refer to as a "Charlie Foxtrot."
Taz had messed with the circulation computer when I left her to calm down.
Thus ensuing many hijinks and *headdesking*.
I've mentioned that I don't get paid for this, right?
When I finally leave, I stop in the teacher's lounge to get my reward- my cold can of Coke.
Except, a Diet Coke came out instead.
I didn't notice that until I got in the car, however. I was heartbroken.
I live for the one can of Coke a week.
As I type this, an SUV pulls up to the house. A women wants to talk to the owners of the house (we'll renting) that appears to be in foreclosure.
Is it a full moon?
I only have 15 minutes before walking back to school to pick up my boy. I should probably eat something, because I feel that low blood sugar-stabby sensation coming on.
Have I mentioned...I'm really looking forward to getting a job.