One Day Down

I had a fleeting moment of optimism this morning.

On my way downstairs, I saw Austin’s photo shoot for his first day of school. He’s hit or miss when it comes to pictures, so I was excited to see that not only was he complying with Meg’s request for pictures (both with and without the obligatory “first day of school” sign), but I was also touched when he wanted pictures with each of us individually and then one as a family.

What I failed to realize was that it was part of a cunning plan to delay actually having to go to school. I’ll give him this, he’s a clever little shit.

My first inclination that things weren’t as good as they appeared came as he was packing his snack.

“Mommy, will you open my juice box?”
“I can’t open it now, it’ll spill all over the place.”
“Then how am I going to get it open?”
“You ask your teacher to help you open it.”
“Oh. Actually, I just want a water bottle instead.”

Then came the negotiations. One thing I’ve realized about him is that he needs a win. No matter how small, he will incessantly bargain until he feels like he’s the one who ultimately made the choice. Unfortunately, he was totally striking out when it came to things we could concede.

“I don’t want to wear shoes.”
“I don’t have to go potty.”
“I want to sit in Leanne’s car seat.”
“I want you to carry me in.”

With that last one, he was victorious. But it was less a result of sheer willpower and more of a physical win by default. As Meg lifted him out of his car seat, he… hrm, how to describe this. Ok, ok, remember the facehuggers from the Alien movies? That’s a pretty good visual to describe Meg as we walked into the classroom.

I’ll skip the next 10 minutes. Suffice it to say, they weren’t pretty. This brings us to when Meg and I clearly have to leave but Austin was still attached to Meg’s neck like a parasite. Miss Michelle — god bless her angelic soul — came over and told us she really doesn’t mind dealing with it. She was brandishing a crowbar at the time, along with a look that said she’s clearly done this before.

The saving grace of this whole predicament is that, like a true parasite, Austin detached from Meg only to establish a new symbiotic relationship with poor Miss Michelle’s neck. He still smelled of perfume when he came home. But that was actually a good thing. I was expecting kicking and screaming, followed by a full on sprint out of the classroom after us. Instead, he buried his face into Miss Michelle in what one could optimistically call contentment.

Still unable to drink alcohol, I did the next best thing and went straight to Dunkin’ Donuts to request the strongest coffee they were legally allowed to sell me.

He loved it. Miss Michelle said he was fine for the rest of the day. When he got home, he excitedly told me he got to be the bus driver. I don’t actually have a damn clue what that means, but I also really don’t care at this point. As long as he wasn’t proudly explaining to me that he shit his pants in class, I’m going to consider whatever he was telling me to be a good thing as long as he enjoyed it.

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