Just posted is Julie Donner Andersen's latest column, You Think YOU Had a Hard Day, in which she opines that moms will always win any bad day contest, hands down. In our house, the most recent Big Bad Day was had by my son, who (as noted below) came home with not one but two "bad behavior" notes on Tuesday from his self-contained special-ed class. His teachers may have felt he wasn't listening and spurning their attempts at discipline, but in fact he was seriously rattled by all the yelling and disciplinary actions, to the point that he was determined not to go to school the next day. "I need a day off," he said, from the moment he got up until the moment we got into the school building.
Now I know I'm supposed to be tough about stuff like this -- I know, because the school principal told me so in no uncertain terms Thursday morning -- but the fact is, I told the school secretary he wasn't feeling well, and I took him home. There is a small kernel of truth to my sick-day plea: The last two times he has begged to stay home and I have made him go to school, he's thrown up during the course of the morning, and wound up coming home anyway. So it was, in some ways, a preemptive action.
But there was more to my decision than a concern for his digestive health, and that is: Sometimes we all just need a mental health day. My boss has been known to give me a day off after a particularly traumatic day at work; why shouldn't a child who's had a day when he spiraled further and further out of control get 24 hours to regain it? He had a relaxing day; we watched some TV, read a book, did some mental math problems and a science experiment. And the next day, he went back to class. I didn't get any notes, so he must have done okay. Or maybe they're just not going to send me notes anymore. Either way, my day's better.