I have been looking forward to today for weeks, possibly with even more excitement than Adrian. Today was the Kindergarten field trip to the pumpkin patch to see the farm animals and pick out pumpkins. I procured a babysitter for the twins, attended the required meeting, and submitted forms for the volunteer background check (they’re serious around here!) I looked forward to spending special time with Adrian, away from his brothers, and experience the excitement of Kindergarten.
When I arrived at Adrian’s classroom, one of the teachers, Ms. T, immediately gushed, “Oh! You’re Adrian’s mom? I just love him! He is SO sweet. He really is. Such a sweet, sweet boy.” I smiled with pride.
But no sooner had we boarded the bus than the “sweet” boy’s whining began.
“I’m squished!” Adrian cried, flopping tragically to the floor.
“I don’t like this! Are we going yet? She touched me! I miss my stuffed animals! I’m too squished!” He whined, crying and kicking the seats. This behavior continued, and the girl sitting next to him asked, “Why is he so cranky?”
“I don’t know,” I sighed.
Once we arrived at the farm, Adrian continued to flop and whine, unhappy with whatever the group was doing. We walked to the patch for the kids to pick out pumpkins. While the other kids in my group ran around joyfully looking at pumpkins and selecting one, Adrian stomped around.
“I don’t like this! They’re dirty! It’s too heavy…etc…” He hurled his backpack angrily, kicked it, and threw it again.
“He sure is having a lot of attitude!” Observed another girl from our group.
“Adrian, did you decide what pumpkin you want to take?” I asked, trying to remain cheery.
“NO!” He shrieked. “I DON’T WANT ANY PUMPKINS!! I DON’T LIKE IT!!!” Tears streamed down his face and he kicked his backpack again. He continued to scream, tantruming all over the patch.
Ms. T, seeing his face as she passed, asked, “Did you get a pumpkin, Adrian?”
He just cried and stomped. “NO!”
I pulled her aside. “Can I please trade him for someone in your group? He’s being really difficult…I don’t know what to do…he gets like this around me sometimes…”
Her face registered shock. “But he’s so good! He’s always so sweet in class!”
“Yes. Well. Not with me. I really can’t have him in my group anymore,” I pleaded, my lip trembling.
She looked at me like I was crazy and passed me a cute little blond girl. I took her hand.
“Goodbye, Adrian,” I said. “You’re going with Ms. T now. You can’t be in my group acting like that. Come on, guys.”
I grabbed another girl’s hand and walked off with my new group. Adrian screamed behind me while Ms. T guided him to pick out a pumpkin.
I wanted to sit under a tree and cry, but busy moms don’t get that luxury. So instead I smiled, looked straight ahead, and took my Kindergartners to admire the horses.
When we returned to the bus, Ms. T reported Adrian was great after I left. He behaved in the seat behind me, not next to me.
I know it’s not just me. I know “kids are better for other people than for their parents.” I know. My brain knows.
But my disappointed mommy heart asks, “What’s wrong with me? Am I a bad mom? Why does he act like that around just me? Why can’t we have fun together?”
I stared watery-eyed out the window as we rode back to school, and the wheels on the bus went round and round.