I Failed at Parenting Today

I totally failed at parenting today.

Got Jonny ready for school no problems. Plenty of time to spare. Jojo … slept in.

I figured I’d let him sleep. He needs his sleep. Kids need their sleep. Right?

In the past, when Jonny sleeps in, I can get his breakfast all ready and his clothes, wake him up, get him dressed while he’s still orienting himself and march him downstairs to wolf down some sugary treat so we can be gone in 10-15 minutes.

Apparently, not so with Jojo.

I decided I would wake Jonah up by changing him out of his jammies while he was still asleep.

…and that, my friends was a parenting failure right there.

He instinctively fought me to keep his jammies on and when I pressed the issue, he went from fast asleep (out cold) to FURIOUS MELTDOWN immediately.

I was determined to get him dressed. I was only “partially” successful.

So there we were, 5 minutes before we have to leave. Jonny’s in the car ready to go… Jonah is running around our bedroom having a huge meltdown, with not a stitch on him. He’s not eaten anything for breakfast or even had a drink.

Even though I had already picked out Jojo’s clothes, I knew he wouldn’t let me put them on him. The only thing that might be successful is his “favorite” Peanuts shirt, which is in the dirty clothes hamper, that he has worn 2 out of 3 days this week. It looked okay…

I thought, “what the heck” and tried it on him. He wore it. But he wouldn’t let me dress him any further. It was time to leave. I’m trying to be the good parent and get my kids to school on time.

So I grabbed Jojo’s clothes and shoes and I just picked Jojo up, naked from the waist down and threw him in the back seat.

Now Jonny joined in the protest. He DOES NOT LIKE hearing Jonah having a meltdown and started screaming and covering his OWN ears.

So both my kids were not doing very well, and only one of them is actually even dressed.

And in that state, I decided… “I know Jonah won’t actually sit in his seat… and he’s only wearing a shirt… but you know what? The windows are tinted. The 1st bell hasn’t quite rung yet. Let’s just get them to school and we’ll figure it out there.”

Because that’s what a “good parent” would do, right?

So we left. Jonah’s meltdown slowly dissipated as we got closer to school. Jonny was fine as long as Jonah was fine. Disney music played in the background. Things started feeling like “the norm.”

Except then, we got to the parking lot and I realized, this may not go as smoothly as I had thought.

Too many “what-ifs” went through my mind, the worst of which ended with CPS being called on me and probably also the police…

Seeing my decision from the view of all the other parents there really made me feel like I had made a “poor choice.”

It seemed like a perfectly logical choice when both the boys were screaming in the car, not 5 minutes ago.

So I let Jonny walk himself to class. He was on time. Yay.

I went and finished dressing Jonah in the back seat. Of course, he was happy as a clam… thank God, and he let me dress him. Nobody said anything about it.

The late bell rang. I could see Jojo’s class walking in line to their classroom.

“Let’s go buddy!”

So I picked him up, grabbed his backpack and hauled him to class.

They had just closed the door when I got there.

We knocked and they opened the door. Jojo had a big grin and ran into his class like this was just your average morning.

I’m sure I looked like death. I told them that Jonah was “out of sorts” today. He hadn’t eaten or drank anything yet and he was just not having a great morning.

Then I waved “bye-bye” to Jonah and left.

His teacher had been telling me that she has not seen a “Jonah meltdown” and kind of wanted to experience one so she would know what to expect and how to handle it.

Well… today might be the day.

Jason Reynolds
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Jason Reynolds

Jason is a freelance photographer and graphic designer. He is also a parent of Jonny (9) and Jonah (4) who was diagnosed with Autism in December 2016.
Jason Reynolds
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