I Am Telling You What You Can Do To Help Yourself!
Dylan had a bad day at school.
First, he had a cold. He didn’t get enough sleep and went to school anyway. He had a strike against him going into the building.
He was supposed to have a test in first period, but for some reason it was delayed. Instead, he was supposed to write an essay – which he didn’t finish. In second period, he didn’t finish his algebra test and in third period, he didn’t finish his physics test.
By the end of the day, he had already been in the office once, though I’m not sure why. He had passed out post-it notes to other kids, and texted me to tell me he’d be late because he had to go around the school finding and removing all the post-its.
When I found him, he was standing by the outside door. There was a post-it on the exit sign above his head.
“What about that one?” I said, pointing. He jumped like an NBA player and got it down.
“I didn’t even put that one there,” he said.
We argued all the way home. I was trying to be helpful – again. My mistake.
“I don’t need you to tell me what I did wrong,” he said – repeatedly.
“What do you expect me to do?” I wailed, at a complete loss.
After much useless discussion about goals and screaming and other assorted irrelevants, he said, “I don’t know why you can’t stop telling me what to do!”
I screeched the car to a literal halt in the middle of the road. Luckily, it was a side road.
“I AM NOT TELLING YOU WHAT TO DO!” I screeched, completely out of control. “I AM TELLING YOU WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOURSELF! BUT I AM FINISHED! DO WHATEVER YOU WANT!”
I started driving again, with meticulous calm.
Four minutes passed. Then I said, “Every morning, I get up and make you a high protein breakfast. I make sure you have a water bottle and something special to drink for the car ride. I make sure you have the right vitamins. I give you fruit so that you can get some nutrients with your meal. Then I make your lunch. I pack it full of high protein snacks and today, because you were sick, I put in extra pineapple juice and organic strawberries, because I thought it would help you, and make you happy, because you are sick.”
Dylan said nothing. Of course.
“Tomorrow, I am not doing any of that. I am going to get up and go downstairs and get in the car at 7:10. If you are not ready to go at 7:10, you will not go to school.”
“That makes me happy,” he said, oblivious to the fact that we tried this before and he was not only incapable of being ready on time, but he also had nothing but crap for breakfast and in his lunchbox.
In other words, here we go again.