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House of Cards

I sink into the hot water of my bath, hoping to reach a moment of relaxation in the midst of motherhood. It is 10am. The children are fed, dressed & playing. In the background I hear the noises of boys. Their noises grow louder & I sink further into the water to drown it out, then my eye pop wide & I rush out to quiet him. It was nothing, I discover, while cold & wet – a toy squabble, that disappeared as soon as it erupted.

Mid morning at our house, the children either reach play equilibrium or existential crisis. If crisis, I throw on jeans and a sweater and we venture out into world to see if the library, the park or the YMCA will cure our ails. If equilibrium is established, I say a quick thank you to Jesus and exit stage left for a shower, or a bath & spend the day doing the things I do when at home (blogging, laundry,Facebook, dishes, cooking a proper meal for once…)

The morning hot bath is a small sanctuary of my day. I have long since learned to ignore the noises of boys at play & boys squabbling over toys, the noises that require no immediate attention for me, the noises I might choose to address if fully dressed and dry, but that I can pretend to have not heard while in the bath.

That small gift is gone. While sinking deeper into my hot tub, the loudness of him reached my ears & for the first time, I wondered, what if some one else hears him & decides for themselves what it means. What if we get a second visit from social services? Surely, that could not possibly go well.

And then I was wrecked and angry all over again. Angry at my child, for unknowingly putting me at risk, at myself for being unreasonably angry at him, angry at his condition and how easy it is to overlook, but how hard to live with, angry at the principal who instead of calling me back, called social services – and who still has not called me.

I dress & go downstairs. I find myself hushing him more than parenting him. I am watching my own back, rather than addressing the source of all the noise. I am fearful, as a parent, vulnerable. At night, I dream of people breaking into our apartment. I call the social worker who visited us & ask her if she called the school. She said that she had & had been assured that someone had called me, the principal or the school psychologist. But no one has.

“I’m glad they called me and not the state. This ends here. If they had called the state, it wouldn’t.” She says this matter-of-factly, as if it is to be some comfort to me.

I shudder to think that at another time, someone might call the state instead. I hush my kids. I shudder to think that one shriek could bring down what is starting to feel like a house of cards. I hush my kids at they squabble over a train. Maybe no one will see us if we are quiet enough.

Is this making me a better parent? Thanks for your concern, oh teachers who came to the back fence, you are really helping my child, now that you have made me afraid of disciplining him. Things are looking up, for sure. All he needs is to be given his way all the time. People love it when kids with learning differences are given their way all the time…when he comes to your school next year for Kindergarten, I’m sure you will love it too. Be sure to thank me.

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12 Responses

  1. on 04/20/2009 at 7:07 pm | Reply planetnomad

    Oh Karen this sucks!


  2. on 04/20/2009 at 7:17 pm | Reply Bill Kracke

    Krackes are on your side. And I wish I had more to give than my very unChristian thoughts on this …Feeling with you and for you.


  3. Why can’t people mind their own business? It seems that everyone thinks they need to protect children from their parents. Maybe those people grew up in an abusive environment. That could be why they feel the need to be in everyone’s personal lives. I like that you are trying to relax and stay calm about things. It is very helpful to find other means to relax. The Whirlpool Tub is the first place I go to get that alone relaxation.I wish the best for you and your family!


  4. I am sure you have thought of this already, but have you thought of making an appointment with the principal, and marching over there with him? And taking the names of the teachers? And talking to the school psychologist? And challenging them with the information that the social worker told you that they had called you? Maybe this is the time to take a big hard stand, as proactively as possible? Because you can’t be afraid in your own home, of the way you need to discipline your kids.


  5. on 04/21/2009 at 12:58 am | Reply wheelsonthebus

    i am a little surprised they called based on one incident. schools are mandated to report, and reports that prove baseless will happen in order to make sure kids are protected. but, it seems to me they really jumped the gun here. it seems they would understand a kid needing to pull himself together.


  6. How cowardly of the school officials. I understand your anger. What do they know, and why did they not even bother to try and get some facts before calling the authorities?


  7. Ugh. I think I’d feel the same way.


  8. Feel free to come to my house any time with the kiddos and we all can scream our heads off the beat the band!!!xomb


  9. What a nightmare. This is just insane.


  10. Oh KAREN, I am so sorry.When The Baby was oneish, a female police officer called Children’s Aid on us because our kitchen was messy. And it was messy because EVERYONE IN THE HOUSE had been sick with the flu for over a week – but it didn’t matter, she still called ’em.It was terrifying and awful and NOTHING ever came of it. But I still have panic attacks now when my dishwasher isn’t loaded because who knows what someone will see, what someone will think?


  11. I’m angry at the school officials for not following up. Mandatory reporting is one thing but having teachers go off half-cocked and then not being thorough with the follow-up? That smacks of vigilantism and cowardice on their part. I hate how increasingly people feel as if they can point fingers and then own no responsibility for their finger pointing.


  12. on 04/25/2009 at 3:26 am | Reply painted maypole

    oh. crappy.



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House of Cards

I sink into the hot water of my bath, hoping to reach a moment of relaxation in the midst of motherhood. It is 10am. The children are fed, dressed & playing. In the background I hear the noises of boys. Their noises grow louder & I sink further into the water to drown it out, then my eye pop wide & I rush out to quiet him. It was nothing, I discover, while cold & wet – a toy squabble, that disappeared as soon as it erupted.

Mid morning at our house, the children either reach play equilibrium or existential crisis. If crisis, I throw on jeans and a sweater and we venture out into world to see if the library, the park or the YMCA will cure our ails. If equilibrium is established, I say a quick thank you to Jesus and exit stage left for a shower, or a bath & spend the day doing the things I do when at home (blogging, laundry,Facebook, dishes, cooking a proper meal for once…)

The morning hot bath is a small sanctuary of my day. I have long since learned to ignore the noises of boys at play & boys squabbling over toys, the noises that require no immediate attention for me, the noises I might choose to address if fully dressed and dry, but that I can pretend to have not heard while in the bath.

That small gift is gone. While sinking deeper into my hot tub, the loudness of him reached my ears & for the first time, I wondered, what if some one else hears him & decides for themselves what it means. What if we get a second visit from social services? Surely, that could not possibly go well.

And then I was wrecked and angry all over again. Angry at my child, for unknowingly putting me at risk, at myself for being unreasonably angry at him, angry at his condition and how easy it is to overlook, but how hard to live with, angry at the principal who instead of calling me back, called social services – and who still has not called me.

I dress & go downstairs. I find myself hushing him more than parenting him. I am watching my own back, rather than addressing the source of all the noise. I am fearful, as a parent, vulnerable. At night, I dream of people breaking into our apartment. I call the social worker who visited us & ask her if she called the school. She said that she had & had been assured that someone had called me, the principal or the school psychologist. But no one has.

“I’m glad they called me and not the state. This ends here. If they had called the state, it wouldn’t.” She says this matter-of-factly, as if it is to be some comfort to me.

I shudder to think that at another time, someone might call the state instead. I hush my kids. I shudder to think that one shriek could bring down what is starting to feel like a house of cards. I hush my kids at they squabble over a train. Maybe no one will see us if we are quiet enough.

Is this making me a better parent? Thanks for your concern, oh teachers who came to the back fence, you are really helping my child, now that you have made me afraid of disciplining him. Things are looking up, for sure. All he needs is to be given his way all the time. People love it when kids with learning differences are given their way all the time…when he comes to your school next year for Kindergarten, I’m sure you will love it too. Be sure to thank me.

12 Responses

  1. on 04/20/2009 at 7:07 pm | Reply planetnomad

    Oh Karen this sucks!


  2. on 04/20/2009 at 7:17 pm | Reply Bill Kracke

    Krackes are on your side. And I wish I had more to give than my very unChristian thoughts on this …Feeling with you and for you.


  3. Why can’t people mind their own business? It seems that everyone thinks they need to protect children from their parents. Maybe those people grew up in an abusive environment. That could be why they feel the need to be in everyone’s personal lives. I like that you are trying to relax and stay calm about things. It is very helpful to find other means to relax. The Whirlpool Tub is the first place I go to get that alone relaxation.I wish the best for you and your family!


  4. I am sure you have thought of this already, but have you thought of making an appointment with the principal, and marching over there with him? And taking the names of the teachers? And talking to the school psychologist? And challenging them with the information that the social worker told you that they had called you? Maybe this is the time to take a big hard stand, as proactively as possible? Because you can’t be afraid in your own home, of the way you need to discipline your kids.


  5. on 04/21/2009 at 12:58 am | Reply wheelsonthebus

    i am a little surprised they called based on one incident. schools are mandated to report, and reports that prove baseless will happen in order to make sure kids are protected. but, it seems to me they really jumped the gun here. it seems they would understand a kid needing to pull himself together.


  6. How cowardly of the school officials. I understand your anger. What do they know, and why did they not even bother to try and get some facts before calling the authorities?


  7. Ugh. I think I’d feel the same way.


  8. Feel free to come to my house any time with the kiddos and we all can scream our heads off the beat the band!!!xomb


  9. What a nightmare. This is just insane.


  10. Oh KAREN, I am so sorry.When The Baby was oneish, a female police officer called Children’s Aid on us because our kitchen was messy. And it was messy because EVERYONE IN THE HOUSE had been sick with the flu for over a week – but it didn’t matter, she still called ’em.It was terrifying and awful and NOTHING ever came of it. But I still have panic attacks now when my dishwasher isn’t loaded because who knows what someone will see, what someone will think?


  11. I’m angry at the school officials for not following up. Mandatory reporting is one thing but having teachers go off half-cocked and then not being thorough with the follow-up? That smacks of vigilantism and cowardice on their part. I hate how increasingly people feel as if they can point fingers and then own no responsibility for their finger pointing.


  12. on 04/25/2009 at 3:26 am | Reply painted maypole

    oh. crappy.



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