A Monday Challenge

Today was really a Monday. Due to the time shift, my son was awake a bit later than he should be and had a very, very hard time waking up this morning. He literally was pulled out of bed by Dad. Dad’s usually already at the office when it is wake up time, and is not all that patient.) Grumpy, groggy and uncooperative, he did not do the required steps in order to earn an extremely limited amount of YouTube time before school, so that sent his routine out of whack. Breakfast was uninspiring. He lightly sprained an ankle on Saturday, so he had to limp a lot. I expected him to brush his teeth and put on shoes and socks. (Moms, amirite?) Then I expected him to put things in his lunch box and find his homework and his reading book. The horror of it all.

On my end, I could not sleep last night because my brain was firmly fixed an hour earlier, and I was nervous about the end of the mask mandate in schools and what would happen today. I was groggy this morning. It was raining. My knee was alternating between throbbing and crunching and grinding and popping in and out of the socket. My husband reported that the center lane of the freeway was closed. I have one more week until spring break and am so burned out that I am not sure that I care. Worse still, I didn’t have time to finish my tea, so I had a mug of “drink now” tea and a mug of “drink at school tea.” Balancing these with all my normal Monday gear, I opened the front door and watched one tea cup topple through the door and pour down the front steps, splashing me and my son, mostly my son, with hot tea.

By the time we got to the car, I was forcing cheerfulness, and Miles was oozing displeasure, anger, and misery with the black hole force only generated by tweens and teens. I tried to engage him in conversation. If I could coax him to speak at all (not easy when navigating a freeway with a closed center lane), I only got statements about how Monday was going to be terrible, and, in fact, the whole week was going to be terrible, just look how it had started. He was spiraling ever deeper. I said he had to try to be a bit more optimistic; he grunted that his optimistic bone was broken. At least I think that is what he said. All the mumbling made it a bit unclear.

I finally got fed up and told him that I was issuing a challenge. If he wanted to have any Xbox/iPad playing time today, he was going to have to find three things about school today that were good, and he was going to have to tell them to me after school. And none of this “lunch and recess were good nonsense.” I wanted to hear specifics about what exactly was good. Furthermore, since my morning did not go well and I was also having a hard time focusing on the potential good of today, I was going to do the same thing. I dropped him off at school, sighed as the sheer malevolent force of tween angst drifted away from the car, and went to work.

When I picked him up after school, he volunteered that he had rolled his sore ankle a few more times today in P.E., so it really hurt, but it was a mostly good day. I did not ask him about our deal. He said that he had thought good parts all day so he would know when they happened. He told me about the specific fun things that happened with his friends during recess, and how he designed three more paper machine objects that he has been working on, and even started making a list of all the cool things that they could do so he can have a catalog for his creations. He talked about friendship and we listened to music instead of him insisting that this was the worst day ever in the history of the universe and it was only going to get worse. In return, I told him some of the positives of my day. The majority of teachers and about half of the kids still wore masks. No one was rude about it or needling kids because they did or did not wear a mask. I could still identify the kids without masks, although they looked much different. I had two students in particular who were upsetting me intensely last week, and he asked about them. I talked about the improvements in their behavior today. I mentioned the flowering trees and the sea of daffodils I passed near his school. I was having trouble thinking of a third thing, so I really focused in on the students who were doing what they should instead of the ones who were not, and realized that I saw lots of good work in their book analysis projects so far. I saw clever memes linked to their stories and clear and detailed Venn diagrams comparing and contrasting their characters. I saw students who thought they were finished being receptive to constructive criticism and willing to revise to make their work better. I saw progress across the board from where they were in the pre-assessment. There was really some progress and a lot of hard work happening in my classroom.

We were both happy when we came home. Sure, his ankle and my knee still hurt, and it still wasn’t spring break. I reminded him that he is allowed to feel frustrated and angry and sad, but he should not let it color everything around him. He had some ice cream. We played with the cats. He made me a cup of tea. Everything turned out okay. We changed our perspectives.

3 thoughts on “A Monday Challenge

  1. Wow…that’s a doozy of a Monday! For the first part of the story, the book “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day” came to mind, but I love how you and Miles turned it around by looking for the good parts of the day. It really is all about perspective. Hoping you have a swift next four days so that you can enjoy your much-needed break!


    1. I did not even think of “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day”. That would have made me feel a lot better. I did try reading it to Miles once when he was younger and having a bad day, and he just kept insisting that his day was even worse. We are working on the negativity! Today was much better and we both had much happier days.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s