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I literally did this exact same thing last week with Juni!! However, I was actually on the blacktop (I forgot to email the school letting them know I'd be picking her up, even though I pick her up every single Wednesday). I thought for a minute that the bus attendant wasn't going to let me take her, and she made me talk to Juni's teacher, who still seemed unsure if I should take her since it wasn't protocol. I was like, "so the other option is that you send her home on the bus to an empty, locked house..." 😂

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Oh my goodness! I can't believe they almost wouldn't let you take her. I get the importance of following protocol, but.... yeah. So glad it worked out, and thanks for sharing — I feel better that this happened to you recently too!!!!

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Mar 30, 2023Liked by Melinda Wenner Moyer

I've had these situations where they want to follow protocol so badly even when it's like, ??? that makes no sense. Good lord.

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Mar 30, 2023Liked by Melinda Wenner Moyer

Wow! My kids aren't school-aged yet, and the fact that there's this level of protocol now never occurred to me before. I have a distinct memory of being on the bus one afternoon, seeing my mom's car parked in the lot because she was picking me up for a piano lesson, and the driver letting me off halfway out of the school driveway because "oh crap my mom's here!" Guess life's different now...

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If it makes you feel better, I once walked home from kindergarten by myself, without anyone’s permission, completely eluding the teacher, bus monitors, and my babysitter, simply because I wanted to see if I could do it, and I missed my mom, who worked from home. I plotted my route while riding the bus to school for a week before I did it, and some maternal fifth graders helped me cross the one busy street involved. I was so tired when I got there (it was probably a mile walk) that I collapsed into the front hallway crying, to my mom’s astonishment. I remember zero consequences for anyone involved. But I can imagine it was an “oh BLEEP” moment for every adult link in that chain.

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Mar 30, 2023Liked by Melinda Wenner Moyer

This made me laugh but is also terrifying. So many people that should've realized what was going on! Glad you made it home safely.

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Wowowowowowowow. Yes I bet there were some heads rolling after that!

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Mar 30, 2023Liked by Melinda Wenner Moyer

My kids both have frequent doctor appointment and therapy that I have to pick them up from school early for. Kid 2 typically has more appointments, and earlier in the week I had picked him up for therapy. Two days later, I went to the school and had the front desk call Kid 2 down to leave for the day. 2 minutes later I was like, "OH SHIT! Wrong kid!" and realized I needed Kid 1, not Kid 2. I was so embarrassed and felt awful for disrupting Kid 2's class unnecessarily. The registrar thought it was hilarious, thankfully, and my mom (a second grade teacher) reassured me and said I'm not the only parent to have done that but I felt like such a goof. *insert Picard facepalm gif here*

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oh my gosh that's so funny. I'm so glad the teacher and registrar treated it like just another day in the life of a parent. We've all done stuff like this!!!

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Mar 30, 2023Liked by Melinda Wenner Moyer

Mine is a lose my cool moment. We had just gotten home from vacation on Sunday and I had armfuls of our vacation mail. My daughter (10) offered to help so I asked her to grab a package that was still in the car right behind me. Her brother (8) was still interested the car and grabbed it right after I said it, so I asked her to grab some of the mail that was overwhelming my carrying capacity. Instead, she stormed off, started screaming and crying and even when I said, "there's still all this, will you still please help?" She said, "only if I can carry that one box that J took!!" And then stormed into the house carrying nothing, not even her stuff. So when I got in the house, I threw all the mail on the floor and yelled, "thanks for helping!" Ugh. Way to model good behavior, me.

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Mar 30, 2023Liked by Melinda Wenner Moyer

Your moment sounds like mine below. Losing our cool is normal. We are humans, not robots. You’re in good company!

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Can relate! I lose my cool, too. Less and less lately b/c I'm really working on it, but they still happen. Bedtime seems to be the holdout. We're all so tired by then, and when the 5yo is exhausted but loudly protesting me leaving his room when the 2yo is trying to go to sleep, I lose my cool, yelling at him to be quiet. Oh, the irony.

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It's okay!!! Kids need to know that everyone has limits, and that we're all human.

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Mar 30, 2023Liked by Melinda Wenner Moyer

My husband and I have back patio “dates” where we, weather permitting, retreat to the back patio with a couple of beverages and our kids are supposed to leave us alone and watch tv. This past Saturday younger child was needing attention and interrupting us at regular intervals. She’s 8, soon to be 9, and at the fifth interruption (“will you walk with me to the bathroom?”) I lost my mind. I screamed at her and chased her to the bathroom, where she barricaded herself in, crying. My older kid ran for cover in his bedroom. I hate that a combination of exhaustion (older kid and I returned from a 13-hour BSA Scout day trip) and alcohol made me a monster. My younger kid is off-the-charts large for her age, and verbally advanced as well, so even I forget how young she truly is. If I can’t give her grace to be emotionally 8 years old, how do her teachers treat her? How does the world see her?p

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I suspect you DO give her the space for her emotions most of the time, and this was just one of those moments where you couldn't. It's okay for her to know you're human and that we all make mistakes. I felt so bad earlier this week because I picked up take-out food for friends for a meal train, along with food for us, and I asked my 8yo to check which bag was which while I was driving. She ended up opening a container of cooked spinach upside-down and spilling it all over the backseat, and I was driving and got upset, and then she started crying and I felt so terrible because she was just trying to help. I pulled over and apologized and told her it wasn't a big deal at all but she was still so upset. SIGH. But point being... hey, we all lose our cool sometimes.

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Yesterday, after my daughter whined more than should be humanly possible while riding her bike half a block, I yelled, “You are making this miserable and you will not ruin this beautiful afternoon!!” Then I crossed the street and went to pick up the other kid by myself (instead of all us going together).

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Mar 30, 2023Liked by Melinda Wenner Moyer

Ooof, I can relate to this... our 1.5 year old talks and acts more like a 2.5 or even 3 year old and I often forget how little she really is. Today, she was whining nonstop as we were trying to get out the door in the morning and I finally snapped at her: hey, no more whining!! All done!

Then, she asked to nurse... and I remembered omg, she’s only 1. While I was nursing her, she started signing “sad” and when I asked her what made her sad, she pointed at me. Heart. Broken.

None of us spend 100% of our time as the gentle, affirming parents we try to be. It’s extra hard with kids who present as older and more mature. It’s hard to remember that behind all that precocious banter, they’re still little at heart.

Sending you big hugs ♥️

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If I forget to put utensils in my kid’s lunchbox, they just won’t eat the main portion of their lunch … even though there’s a full kitchen right next to the lunch room, and any teacher would be happy to grab them a fork or spoon!

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Mar 30, 2023Liked by Melinda Wenner Moyer

I admittedly am struggling now that my daughter is 7yo to encourage her to be more independent -- i.e., put her own shoes & socks on, carry her own things, get her own snack. This week, I forgot to bring her backpack to school. I know she's old enough to get it herself. But I'm in a hurry in the morning! I think that's my main problem: It's just faster and easier to do it on my own then get in a big power struggle with her.

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You’re right. It’s so much easier to do it yourself. Start small. Hopefully the pride she feels in accomplishing the task will build for the next one.

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I feel you on this! It's so much easier to do it yourself. You don't need to feel guilty for doing things for her — it's a habit that was built out of necessity (babies can't do shit!). And it takes time to shift out of that mindset. The fact that you're even talking about wanting to give her more autonomy is the first step. You'll find more and more opportunities.

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Mar 30, 2023Liked by Melinda Wenner Moyer

Oh my goodness my attempt at teaching critical thinking completely backfired. So my daughter (5) was asking about whether unicorns were real, and I took the opportunity to try to establish a mental framework: things can either be fact (they're true and we can prove it), fiction (intentionally made up/they're not true and we can prove it), or belief (we can't prove whether they're real or not, so it's a matter of belief/opinion. I started with some easy facts and easy fictions, and then we circled back to unicorns. And she said that there weren't unicorns on our planet, but we couldn't prove that they didn't exist somewhere else, so they must be a belief—which I thought was a really smart answer. Then, she asked about the Easter Bunny. And I should caveat that Easter is probably her favorite holiday. So we talked it through, and decided that the Easter Bunny was a belief. So far so good.

Then... she asked if *I* believe in the Easter Bunny. I thought about it for a moment, but then decided I shouldn't lie to her, so I said no. And it BROKE HER. She started crying and wailing and ran to her room, and when I could get words out of her, she said she was sad and hurt that I didn't believe. It took nearly 30 minutes to calm her down again. Total FAIL!

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I would have done the SAME THING. Seriously. I don't believe in lying to a child in general and I would have been hard- pressed to answer that question in a way that didn't induce tears. You're doing a great job!

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I'm with Leila. This wasn't a parenting fail. It's just her having emotions about something. You're doing great!

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I don't think you failed at all — and I am taking notes on this mental framework you're using!! Such a great and clear concept.

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I agree with Anna. Your fact/fiction/belief explanation is stellar.

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What a wonderful fact/fiction/belief framework! I agree with what everyone else has said. Perhaps your conversation actually provided the perfect context for her to ask the Easter Bunny question, which is probably something she's been wondering for a while. She was likely ready to know the truth, but still needed to process the news emotionally — and those emotions weren't bad! They were appropriate and healthy. And how nice was it that she could process them at home with you, without judgment, when she was ready. Far better than if she'd learned the news at an unwelcome, unsolicited time or in a context in which she couldn't express her feelings.

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Mar 30, 2023Liked by Melinda Wenner Moyer

Sigh. Missed my kid’s belated half-birthday celebration at school. This is the first year that parents have been invited to these classroom celebrations since pre-pandemic times, and she was out sick for her originally scheduled day; after two and a half weeks of both kids with double ear infections and interminable sick days, I simply forgot to change the date in our family calendar. She was disappointed, for sure, but not heartbroken. She isn’t a kid who likes to be the center of attention, and she’d been waffling on whether she wanted to ask her teacher if she could skip it in the first place. My partner, bless his heart, required two days of near constant reassurance that he hadn’t failed completely as a parent. We don’t normally celebrate half-birthdays, as a family, but her class does this for the summer bday kids so that everyone gets a celebration day. Not the worst thing ever, but… not making me feel like an awesome, caring, involved parent.

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There's an important work conference that often falls on my son's birthday and over the years I've missed his birthday a couple of times because of it, and I always feel awful — but I'm honestly not sure he even remembers now. Sometimes I feel like we put more value on these things than they do (and feel worse when we miss them than they do), because to us they're mired in symbolism, but our kids just shrug them off. Sending hugs though. It's so hard!

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Mar 31, 2023Liked by Melinda Wenner Moyer

Every year I always seem to forget it’s picture day so my younger son is in every picture in like a sports tank top or other wild attire and his hair Crazy 😜. It’s almost like a running joke at this point we next year he’ll be in 5th grade and I have done this for at least 2-3 years now!

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Haha it's becoming a theme! I say continue it! It'll make for some great laughs as you go through school photos in 20 years, LOL.

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I went in to read to my daughters class and at her request brought the book Eloise and I forgot how inappropriate it is... pictures of people smoking and drinking and just generally glorifying bratty behavior. So embarrassing!

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Thank you all for this thread. I’ve read it 3 or 4 times during a really tough stretch of parenting involving 2-3 weeks of illness, including a case of bronchitis for myself, and lots of toddler tantrums (and a few mommy tantrums too). Seeing everyone’s stories and compassion has really helped.

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