AKA Thug Life of a Five Year Old AKA This Will Go Down On Your Permanent Record.
Summer vacation has finally started for the kids and for us that means 1) getting up earlier than for school and 2) spending the entire day outside. Doing things. Being active. At camp!!11!Eleventy!1. It's for your own good, you'll learn to swim, have the same type of childhood I did, blah blah blah nostalgia-cakes. (I figure I can get another year, maybe two out of this plan before the totally catch on that they are getting seriously screwed in this process.)
Day Two was yesterday and I was at work (when am I not? Seriously.) when I got Teh Call. Fuck. Fuckity-fuck-fuck-fuck. It was his counselor (naturally) with the news that he had been in the bathroom when the lid to the toilet tank fell and shattered.
"Is he okay?"
"Well, yes, he's fine." she replied, clearly surprised that I had asked. Really? Why wouldn't I have asked that? "But" (oh hell) "he picked up the lid and it fell and shattered so since it was destruction of property, you'll need to pay for it."
"Oookay. I understand. But he's okay, right?"
"Yes, he's fine, just some small cuts."
"All right, I'll be on the lookout for the bill. Thanks." And I went back to work, wondering what in the world would have possessed the child to investigate the inner workings of a toilet tank. I mean, other than being five-year old boy that is.
As the day wore on, it puzzled me more and more. That is so out of character for him; he's never exhibited and burning rush of investigation over the toilets at home. Maybe it's the being in a new place and having new adventures made him spazz out or something. I don't know. But those things are heavy. And while he is tall, he's not that tall to get sufficient leverage to lift it. Sigh. Oh well, we'll figure this out at home; at the very least he'll have to pay for half of the cost out of his allowance as it broke as a result of him doing something he wasn't supposed to do. We'd get a bill, we'd pay it, that would be the end of it.
Oh ho ho ho!
This morning as I dropped them off at the camp bus stop and van driver was the counselor who escorted him to the rest room yesterday. She filled me in on the story: she took him to the bathroom and while she waited outside, she heard it shatter and went in to find him crying with his swim trunks still down. She lifted him up and away from the shards and got the director. At some point in this I was called and told we were on the hook for paying for it. Then came the kicker: he was suspended from camp for today, Wednesday, June 24.
Because the lid broke due to his actions, that is considered 'destruction of property' and therefore vandalism with an automatic 1-day suspension. There it was, in black and white, on the incident report form...that we didn't receive yesterday thanks to Mother Nature's epic temper tantrum.
"They didn't tell you he's not allowed to attend camp today?"
Clearly not if I'M STANDING HERE WITH A LOOK OF SHOCK, NO KNOWLEDGE OF THIS AND HIM PACKED FOR CAMP.
She called the senior director to see if he could serve his suspension tomorrow seeing as we weren't aware of this. Nope. No dice. Do not pass 'Go', do not attend camp. How exactly were we supposed to know this if you didn't give us the sheet telling us this, let alone a follow-up phone call? It wasn't her fault and I tried very hard not to take it out on her but still. This is an unacceptable fail in communication. Plus, you know, he's FIVE. Probably not a dangerous criminal in training. But I get it; there are rules and consequences to breaking the rules. I have no problem with that. I do have major problem with the communication piece and how it was handled. They will be getting an earful from me when I can trust myself to not completely unload on them which at this rate might be next July.
Fortunately my mother-in-law was able to come up and spend the day with him so he kind of wins today as Grandma is his most favorite person in the entire world. I have my doubts that he actually lifted the lid; either it was already off kilter and fell when he lifted the toilet seat or he put his hand on it to peer into the opening and that shifted it enough for gravity to do its thing is a more likely and logical explanation. But the counselor probably came in, saw the mess, and asked "Did you lift it?" and in shock and pain, he probably agreed and now in his mind that is what happened. I don't blame her per se, but how things are phrased are of critical importance, otherwise you are leading the witness.
We'll never know what really happened but one thing's for sure - he'll have a helluva 'What I did during my summer vacation' essay when they get back to school. Which really can't come soon enough for me and now, I suspect, for him too.