Earlier this afternoon I was standing at the top of the stairs weeding through the never-ending pile of laundry when I heard the doorbell chime. I'd had a pretty wild day of children screaming through the house, bloody knees and one of the 5s playing barber with my friend's little girl, so I wasn't exactly looking for any company.
Plus, Rawr is out of town, so I was pretty baffled as to who was outside. Usually, it's her 4 that uses the doorbell like it's a candy dispenser.
Just as I was pulling open the door, it was flung open from the outside and in poured my nine year old daughter. It was eleven o'clock in the morning.
The last time I saw my kid she was standing on the sidewalk when I dropped her off at school.
Me: Kid? KID! What the he--
9: MOM! [throws herself in my arms] I RAN AWAY! [proceeds to sob]
Me: [bewildered] Ah...
9: I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE! They just take and take and TAKE FROM PEOPLE'S BUCKETS!
Let's pause for a second. I am totally not exploiting my child's anguish for the sake of a laugh. In fact, it wasn't funny at all. Someday, before the internet is outdated, my kids may want to read some of this junk I write here on No Eloquence and I will show them. Plus, I have a horrible memory and I know that if something out of the ordinary happens and I blog about it, I'm more likely to remember it later. When I read it again. After I forgot it happened in the first place.
Back to the mysterious 9 standing in the entryway at lunchtime on a school day.
Oh, and the bucket-thing.
At my kids' school, they talk about "Bucket Filling" with positive comments, helping and the like. "Taking from the bucket" is when another child is rude or does something to upset another student. There are no actual buckets. I asked.
From what my 9 told me, her BFF and two other girls were teasing another boy on the playground and I guess my 9 had about enough of it and tried to involve the Yard Duty.
Unsatisfied with the standard "kids, knock it off" that was offered by the staff, my 9 apparently freaked out and scaled the 6 foot fence, then proceeded to run home and tell her mom because no one else was going to handle the situation effectively.
Me: [incredulous] You jumped the FENCE?
9: WELL THEY LOCKED THE GATES, MOM. HOW ELSE WAS I SUPPOSED TO GET OUT?
Me: [sigh] Honey, you left school grounds alone. What if someone tried to stop you?
9: Mom. I hid every time a car came by. I was like a shadow.
Before you do the whole freak-out thing and call CPS, I lived like 2 blocks from the school.
After I calmed the kid down and got the whole story out of her, I issued her the standard "This is what you SHOULD have done" lecture, gave her a hug and a glass of water and returned her to school. I met with her principal and discussed how exactly no one noticed her jumping the back fence and spoke with her about the other kids teasing the boy. The principal was very apologetic and I kind of think that glimmer in her eye was going to cause trouble for the staff that was on playground duty.
I'm pretty proud of my daughter for sticking up for another kid on the playground. I'm also a little worried about what is going to happen during her teen years when she figures out how easy it is to climb through a window and sneak out.
Sometimes, I wonder what normalcy looks like.