Today was tough.
I knew it was going to be rough - Katie would be tired from four days of over doing. I had plenty to do workwise and I thought I had set aside a few things to keep Katie busy. I was going to push it - our consultant said to take things slow. She said when kids make the transition from traditional school to home school, they often have to go through a "de-programming" period while they unlearn some of the habits they learned at school. Made sense to me. Go slow. Got it.
Little Pet Shop. I didn't over react when she said she wasn't ready to write in her journal, she just needed to organize things first. I even kept it together when she asked if she could watch just one show instead of do the two measly thank you notes (her birthday was a month ago!) that need to be done.
But when she came in, started crying, and told me how incredibly bored and miserable she was. Then I got frustrated. She went on and on about normal school and how good it would be if she could be there. I reminded her that she had romanticized school, that she was miserable last year and that her friends were not all that friendly.
We got really stuck. I didn't want to feed the "poor me" monster and I didn't want to be insensitive either. I really tried to stay balanced, present and helpful. What really worked was a trip to the park.
Maybe a Trip to the Park?
I knew we needed to get out of the house. We walked to get the car (getting a repair from a damaged air conditioner - during the heatwave, of course). Then we hit the park. I did some walking, she did some playing and then we noticed him. The weird guy.
This man, in lame shorts, a baggy t shirt, white socks and flip flops was walking around the park with a balloon. Not a normal balloon - a kind of cool dog-on-a-leash balloon that was clearly designed to attract children. In fact, kids were attracted to him. But none of the kids belonged to him. It started to really freak us out.
So we decided to call the Sheriff. The deputy they sent was awesome. He called while on his way to the park and got the low down from us. We stressed we weren't sure there was anything wrong but that things just didn't look right. We kept an eye on things while waiting for him to arrive. When he got there, we casually went to our car and watch things unfold.
After 10 minutes talking to the man, the deputy walked away and I assured Katie he was calling us - which he was. Turned out the man was okay and admitted he was acting kind of weird now that the deputy pointed it out. That kids had come up to him and he hadn't thought about it. The deputy thanked us for being vigilant and said we did the right thing.
The best part of the whole thing for me is that Katie got to participate in noticing people, their behavior and learn about making assessments about that behavior in a way that might help keep her safe in the future. We didn't panic. We didn't get paranoid. We did consider our options and made a conscious decision to make the call for help.
So it ended up being a home school day after all.