I read the extensive list of guidelines, and we got to work. We planned out what would go where and how he wanted it to look. I made suggestions and offered feedback, and in the end we had a nice little plan for his craft.
The idea of lining the project with glitter was stuck in my head, and Slim agreed it would look nice. As I picked up the glue and glitter, I remembered that the guidelines specifically stated, NO GLITTER.
Now, whether I was tired/had a busy day/was stressed/was dealing with a crying baby/was rebelling against all the glitter projects the boys bring home from school/just wanted to get the damn thing done, here's what happened:
I knew the guidelines - they were right there - but I put glitter on the damn thing anyway. I just wanted to. I broke the rules.
And it felt...exhilarating!
The plan for the picture was his; the glitter was mine.
Me: "We weren't supposed to put glitter on your craft. It says right here on the guidelines."
Slim: "I like the glitter."
Me: "Me too. If you get in trouble for the glitter, just tell them your mom did it. Blame it on me."
Slim: "I'll tell them, 'If you don't like the glitter, look at it again because it looks nice, and we like it."
Me (smiling inside): "Yeah! You know, sometimes moms don't follow directions either."
Slim: "That's okay, Mom."
Yep, it's okay.
Slim has been struggling this whole school year. He has been on and off several different medications for ADHD and anxiety. He has been on and off several different behavior plans and charts. He has been shuttled to and from speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, academic testing, and doctors' appointments. Everyone is checking on him, redirecting him, yelling at him, demanding him to do something. He's felt berated, unloved, and misunderstood.
I can just imagine what his teacher will think when she sees the glitter. No wonder this kid can't follow directions when his mother can't even read and follow them.
I used to think that way when I was a teacher.
But now, as a mom, I think that sometimes following directions isn't as important as making your child feel understood.