The very words strike fear in a parent's heart, conjuring up visions of starving
NNNOOO!!!! you want to scream. You need to be a doctor or a lawyer or something else that will make you a lot of money so that you can look after me in my old age and make up for everything you've put me through.
At least that's how most parents would feel. But not me. Why not? Well, I'd love to tell you that it's because I just want Bear to be happy, but that would be a lie. It's actually because I firmly believe that my retirement plans rest on his Oscar-worthy acting abilities.
Take the other morning, for example. All was going well until he emerged from his bedroom about 15 minutes before it was time to leave for school. Have you brushed your teeth and washed your face? I asked him? NNNOOO!!! AND I'M NEVER GOING TO BECAUSE I'M NOT GOING TO SCHOOL! he screamed at me. (In case you hadn't figured it out yet, all caps denotes a major increase in Bear volume.) Because I'm very, very used to this, I calmly informed him that yes, he was going to school, and since I didn't feel like driving him could he please go get ready so he could still make the bus. I steeled myself for the backlash, but instead found myself staring at the empty spot where he had been standing. Where was he? In the bathroom washing his face and brushing his teeth.
I remember thinking it rather odd that he had given in so easily, and silently congratulated myself on my victory. Off he went to school without another problem and the incident was quickly forgotten about.
Until, that is, the phone rang mid-morning. Assuming it was my mother, who is one of the only people who call me during the day, I cheerfully answered the phone. Big mistake. It wasn't Mom. (Damn...I love it when it's Mom. I love my Mom. Hi Mom!) It was the Vice-Principal. Apparently Bear was so out of control that they couldn't do anything with him, and two of them had been trying since school started at 8:00 a.m. He was hyper, aggressive, rude, defiant -- all the usual "Bear" behaviours when something is stressing him out or he's eaten something that he's not supposed to. Did I want to come get him or did I want them to keep trying for another half-hour?
Normally I would bundle up Stitch and head out to get Bear, knowing full well that there had to be a reason for his behaviour and that if it was still going after a few hours at school, it wasn't likely to stop. They are extremely accommodating at that school, so I try to do my part by bringing him home when they're having major issues. But today I didn't jump. Or couldn't jump, I should say. Sorry, I explained, but I had just put Stitch down for a nap so I wouldn't be able to come get him for at least an hour or so. No problem, the VP reassured me. She would try again and call me back in an hour. We agreed that no news would be good news, and I hung up the phone anticipating the phone ringing again in an hour.
Much to my surprise, the phone rang again about 20 minutes later, and it was the VP again. Seriously? Had things gone so downhill in that short time that I was going to have to wake up Stitch to go fetch Bear?
No, apparently that was not the case. Much to my surprise, she was calling to say that the situation had been resolved. When she went in to talk to Bear, he had asked when I was coming to get him. That clued her in a tad as to what he was up to. Oh, she's not, she informed him, explaining that I was too busy to come get him today. Laura, you should have seen his face! she laughed on the phone. I guess that stopped him in his tracks. Realizing that he was stuck at school for the day, he finally confessed. He had been acting up in order to get sent home. You see, the Switch Witch came last night, taking away the Valentine's candy Bear and Stitch can't eat and leaving them presents. Bear wanted to come home to play with Stitch and their new toys.
Bear finished his day at school without further incident, and when he got home I introduced him to the story of the little boy who cried wolf. I explained to him that if he pretended to be upset, we might not know when he was really upset. He seemed to get the concept and promised not to do it again.
Fast forward one day, to yesterday. The call came at 11:30 a.m. but I wasn't here to get it. Then came the email -- Bear was completely out of control and they didn't want to put him on the school bus, so could I come get him. When we got home, there was no sign of Bear being even remotely bothered by anything so I confronted him. Had he been pretending again, I asked him pointedly. He dropped his head the way only a little boy who knows he's been caught can do. Apparently he didn't want to take the school bus home (long story, but valid reasons) so he thought if he was naughty, I'd have to go get him. And since I hadn't gone to get him the day before, he had to be extra naughty for it to work.
So this begs the question...when did my little thespian hatch his plan? At six years old, is he capable of real deceit? I tend to think not, that he's just an extremely smart little boy who noticed what worked last time and decided to try it again. Whatever the answers, he had everyone fooled, so now we no longer know what's put on and what is deliberate.
All I know is that I'd better get a really big house and a fancy car out of this. Isn't that what successful actors do? Reward their long-suffering mothers for everything they've put them through? At this rate, he'd better throw in some diamonds, too.