Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Smile! You're on Camera!

I don't believe I've shared the adventures of school picture day. Well, you're in luck , I'm feeling energetic.

School picture day dawned cool and drizzly and Devon dawned grumpy and irritable. Whenever the day holds something new for Devon he gets a bit anxious. This exhibits itself in grumpy protests. The girls, in their excitement, got up and dressed in plenty of time to get their hair combed neatly and their nice duds on without a hitch. I waved them down the street and off to smile sweetly at the school photographer. In an attempt at helping me avoid any fight with Devon, Lincoln got him dressed before he left with the girls. It was not a shirt I would have chosen for picture day, but I figured it would be OK for his class at Lands' End and we would simply change it before he left for school. I also figured if he gave me a hard time about it I might just let him wear the shirt to school as well rather than fight it out. We went to Lands End for class and all went smoothly. As we were eating lunch afterward, however, I realized Devon had gotten paint all over his shirt during an exuberant burst of creativity at class. This meant the shirt HAD to be changed for school pictures. I was chatting with my mother on the phone as I laid out a new shirt for Devon. He finished eating and turned to the neatly set out shirt, protesting before even making it across the room. I had chosen a long sleeve (#1 no-no) button down (#2 no-no) shirt. "I don't WANT to wear a CHURCH shirt!" I tried to make a good argument for the shirt but gave up in frustration and offered another alternative. This shirt too was not deemed acceptable in his eyes. At this point the downward spiral began. He was shirtless with unbrushed teeth and bedhead, yelling and pouting about the shirt options when the bus pulled up out front, 15 minutes early. I hung up the phone, waved the bus on and turned to Devon. "Now you've missed the bus and I'm going to have to take you to school!" Upon hearing this he informed me he was not GOing to school. I informed him that if he did not go to school he would spend school time in his room. Somehow, in the next few minutes, I convinced him to get dressed (in a NEW shirt option). He told me he was still not going to school. "Fine. But at least brush your teeth." He brushed his teeth but he was STILL not going to school. "Fine. But at least let me comb your hair." He let me comb his hair but it didn't matter because he was NOT going to school. "Fine. But at least get your backpack and get in the car." He did, though he wasn't going to school. I loaded in the other two kids, drove over to school and parked the car. "I'm not going to school." This was where he drew the line. I had to drag him out of the car and manhandle him into the classroom.
Let's take a break here for me to explain lest you think I'm a horrible mother. I've come to understand my boy somewhat. (That doesn't mean I'm always terribly patient, but I'm working on it.) He very much WANTED to go to school for picture day. I knew this. That was the struggle he was having. He wanted to, but it was new and a little scary to him. I feel it is the right thing to do when he gets like this. Help him face the situation. Just today he woke up grumpy and saying he wasn't going to school for his Halloween party. It was exciting and a little scary. He was nervous about getting his costume on by himself. This anxiety exhibited itself in declarations of dislike for school (he likes it really) and claims that he was sick. We put together a different costume that he was confident dressing himself in and suddenly he was very excited to be going. I want him to get used to stepping out of his comfort zone and finding courage in new situations.
Back to the story. As I deposited him in his classroom his teacher told us they were just about to head down for pictures. Great. I could picture it right then. A tear-streaked scowl. As I left him and walked out I could hear him burst out crying. I just kept going, refusing to enable the behavior any further. When he arrived home that afternoon he said he had a great day and when I asked him to show me the smile he did for pictures he showed me one. All I could do was assume that meant he had actually smiled and wait for the pictures to come in. Today my wait was over. Here is the result. (It should enlarge if you click on it.)




Chris said...

great story. I struggle with the church shirt thing as well.:) I can tell that your a wonderful mom.

Jenn-Lee said...

They are so cute! That Devon smile just makes me miss him! He is such a cutie! So I see you too struggle with a strongwilled child in the clothes department. I just posted about that very thing today. Its so funny what we go through everyday.
Kennedy and Julia are growing up so fast. They are beautiful!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

definitely one for the memory books. I love it. A personality shot is so much better than a portrait any day. :)