Sunday, March 17
I checked Power School. More missing work. The assignments Tom handed in were slopped together. He had more U’s. I grounded him from band practice until May and told him he couldn’t be in the battle of the bands. Tom started crying.
“I’m so mad at you,” he hissed.
“I warned you. You were aware of these consequences and you chose them.”
“I know, but can’t you give me a break? I’ll do better. This won’t happen again.”
“I’ve heard that too many times.”
Tom and I argued and argued in this circle.
“I’m not arguing anymore, we’re done,” I finally said.
Tom stomped out of the living room. I walked into the kitchen and began unloading the dishwasher. Tom’s feet pounded down the stairs. He appeared in the kitchen with one of his electric guitars, holding it like an axe. His face was fierce.
“I’m going to smash this,” he growled.
Tom looked at me like I was crazy. Then he looked confused. Then he got his angry look back. “I’m going to do it,” he growled.
Tom raised the guitar over his head and growled like a dog.
“Do that outside,” I shouted.
Tom lowered his guitar and looked at me like I was a madwoman.
“You better not break anything in here or damage the floor. Go smash it on the sidewalk.”
Tom stared at me then stormed upstairs. I sat on a kitchen stool and stared out the window.
Tom was already missing today’s band practice. Terry wasn’t happy about it. He was going to be more unhappy about the latest detail. I got up and sent a group email to the band parents and included JB this time.
“I'm sorry this is affecting you, but Tom will not be able to compete in the battle of the bands or jam through the end of April. This was a consequence for poor grades. I'm sorry. Maybe another guitar player can step in.”
I called Terry to make sure he got it.
“Yeah, I got it,” he said in a clipped, irritated voice. “We’re not bringing anyone new into the band. It’s business as usual. I’ll fill in for Tom until he can come back.”
I grabbed my laptop and emailed JB.
“I hope you will not undermine Tom’s grounding. Tom has been without electronics and screens this week, and that will continue the rest of the month. You got the email about him not jamming until May, not performing at the Cubby Bear. It's the first time he actually cared about a consequence. Maybe this will make a difference. He got mad at me but he’s been doing homework all day.”
“I agree something had to be done given how this trimester has started, and I'm glad it appears to be working,” JB replied. “I give you my word that I will not undermine your decision.
“Now, as his father I am entitled to a heads up at the very least. I should not be learning that Tom is grounded from Terry. I should not learn that he's banned from participating in the BOTB at the same time as everyone else. I hope you can appreciate my point of view here.
“Lets please try to communicate better when it comes to Tom. I would really appreciate it.”
There’s a lot I would have appreciated, too, JB.