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Sunday, February 27, 2011

They Say it Takes A Village...

Unless the child in question is Benjamin.  

In that case, the villagers had better call for reinforcement.  Maybe even a S.W.A.T. Team.  

Yes, that is a big stick that he is brandishing in this photo.

It all started one balmy morning,  right after winter break.

When we arrived at school and queued up in the interminable car line, Benjamin simply announced that he was done with kindergarten.  He explained that he already knew everything he needed to know.  

I corrected him and said he would not know everything he needed to know until after he completed kindergarten.  And certainly not before he turned six.

He refused to get out of the car.  He would not budge even though he was by this time blocking an entire car-line full of irate parents.  (And you know they were irate after the long, long, winter vacation with no break in sight.) 

Anyway, the spectacle attracted a number of well-meaning bystanders. They all tried, one way or another,  to convince Benjamin to get out of the car and into his classroom.

He refused to budge-- notwithstanding the valiant efforts of :
  • two kindergarten classmates
  • one chapped big brother
  • one random AV tech 
  • one annoyed school receptionist
  • one determined school librarian
  • one sympathetic bystander mom
  • one primary school principal
  • one PTO president (quite skilled in the finer arts of bribery, I might add); and
  • one pleading, threatening, and sweating biological mom--who was wearing ugly house slippers.
Finally, on advice of Benjamin's teacher, I resorted to brute force.  Yes, I am ashamed to say that I wrestled my son out of the car and dragged him into the classroom. He kicked, flailed and writhed while the other students gawked in horror as if they were watching the march to death row in the film Dead Boy Walking.

Or was that Dead Man Walking?  Whatever.

After school that day, both of us were utterly exhausted from the morning spectacle.  We took a long nap together on the couch, and while he softly snored on my chest, I marveled at the amazing determination of my little boy.  I wondered whether he was just too young for the rigors of kindergarten.  Was he trying to tell me that something awful was happening at school?  Was he getting bullied?  Was his teacher mean?  Or worse, were they serving crunchy peanut butter in the cafeteria?

The bottom line was, should I keep him home if his resistance continues? 

Sure enough, the morning-departure trauma did continue.  In fact, it became a regular part of our routine. Although Benjamin had no problem getting up, showered, dressed and fed in the morning, he would not leave the car once we arrived at school.

Over time, I stopped using the car line altogether to avoid the dismay and/or amusement of the other families.  Meanwhile, I watched the other kindergarteners bounce out of their cars and bolt into their classrooms.  My Benjamin was just not interested in following suit.

So I kept him home.

Initially, I had hoped he would be bored to tears with just his mommy and the strict electronics ban.  I made sure that he had plenty of homework to do. And I waited, day after day, for a sign that he was ready to return to school.

No luck. He did not seem to miss school one bit.  Worse, his big brother was now begging to be placed under house arrest with Benjamin.

So, back to school we all headed this morning.

And today...the drop off took on an entirely new twist. Although Benjamin had promised me he was definitely going to go to school that morning, he changed his mind once we reached the promised land at the apex of the car-line.  He scooted out of my reach as I tried to pull him out the car door.  I walked to the other side of the car and watched helplessly while he scooted away from me and back to the other side.

I engaged a new crew of  villagers to help extricate my child from the car.  No amount of persuasion was working.

Growing frantic, I quickly hailed two of Benjamin's favorite kindergarten buddies.  They assessed the gravity of the situation and were more than happy to help.  I watched as they raced over to my car, jumped into the back seat and buckled themselves in right next to Benjamin.  

Now I had three truant kindergarteners to deal with instead of one.

So you see, my kid is one determined five-year-old.  No matter what the village has in mind, Benjamin has his own agenda.

Someday, this might just be a good thing--if either of us survive his kindergarten year, that is.


  1. This is a funny, intelligent story that is full of love from mother to sons, told with tongue-in-cheek attitude, this mother deals with growing-up problems with smart motherly love.Congratulations on raising healthy, well-rounded, creative sons who can learn about parenting from the best mother, who sees the humor in life.

  2. OMG, I laughed and applauded you through-out this story. Seriously, I think I have a little one coming up to be just as determined and your story has inspired me. Thanks so much!!

  3. very funny!!! i found your blog in MBC... visit my page and follow me at


  4. This was so funny I shared it with my husband and kids!

    I am following!

    Thanks, Becky Jane
    Raising kids can be a lot like weeding the rose bed...well worth it, but...OUCH!

  5. Oh, it is so nice to read your comments and know you are laughing too.