Old Dogs, New Tricks

A blog for non-traditional students

Motherhood Strikes Again

I’m just going to say this upfront – I am so frustrated right now that I’ve contemplated just dropping out for the quarter.  With that being said, let me set the stage for what’s set me off tonight.

Thursday, as I was leaving a conference about this very blog, my phone rang.  I thought it was my mother calling again to let me know that the bus she had said was late (fifteen minutes earlier) had finally delivered my rambunctious little boy.  If only things had gone so smoothly.  The call was about my son but it wasn’t my mother – it was the principal at my son’s school.  He sort of beat around the bush, sending my blood pressure skyrocketing, as he explained that the school had called the bus back – because three kids had seen my son holding a little tiny screwdriver right before he was called to his bus.  When the teacher asked him about it, my boy – in his anxiety to get to the bus before the other kids did and kept him from getting a seat – lied and said he didn’t have it, then ran out the door.  She overreacted, or just explained the situation poorly to the teacher monitoring the exit to the busses, because he called the principal and said that my son needed to be pulled off the bus because he had a – wait for it – weapon. 

At this point I’m on the verge of screaming, “Where is my son?!  What did you knuckleheads do to him?!”  I understand that people tend to freak out when kids bring potentially dangerous stuff to school these days, but what was really going on here was a little bit of profiling – my son is smart-off-the-charts and not the most socially successful little guy.  I admit it, he’s a little bit of a nerd, and definitely bully-bait.  But the administration took that, combined with his furtive behavior, and assumed that there was loose cannon on their bus.  The end result of all this, that the principal finally got to after ten minutes of blithering, is that my son is suspended for three days.  By the way, for those keeping score, this happened the day after I found out about my apparent-ex having gotten married.

So cut to Friday evening – I’m submitting a paper for one of my Monday evening classes, and added a note asking for permission to bring my son with me, since I don’t have childcare available in time for me to get to school.  In the three years I’ve been at UC, every quarter I have had to bring my son with me at least once.  I always check with my professors before I bring him, even if it’s a quick email dropped that morning when he turns up sick and unable to go to his own school.  In the three years I have been here, I have never had a professor say no – on one occasion, I had to bring him along when we had an exam scheduled; the professor, who was also a parent, said that as long as my son could sit with the TA at the back of the lecture hall, it was fine.  Contrary to what my son’s school thinks, he’s a remarkably well-behaved little boy, as my classmates who know him will attest to.  

Imagine my surprise – or boiling irritation – when my professor responded and said that since it’s not the department’s responsibility to provide childcare and that the lounges are for student use only, I have to make other arrangements for childcare.  He oh-so-kindly suggested that if I couldn’t find a friend or family member to watch him, then I should check with the UC Women’s Services to see if they could help.  If I weren’t a responsible student, I would happily skip class Monday and badmouth the professor by name all over campus – but I’m scrambling to figure out what to do with my son and kindly leaving the entire episode anonymous. 

The irritation here is two-fold.  The obvious part is the completely senseless response of the professor – I mentioned that my son is 11 years old, so it’s not likely that he’ll run around like a toddler and disrupt other classes.  But fine, it’s his right to refuse – this is why I always ask ahead of time.  What really chaps my hide (I just love that turn of phrase) is that UC offers nothing to help student parents in these types of situations.  There is no emergency child care, and the child care that is directly associated with the university a) is expensive, b) has a waiting list and c) is only for preschoolers and younger.  Forget about the fact that it’s located closer to University and Children’s Hospitals than west campus.

So, here’s a lovely example of being a non-traditional student biting me in the … well, you know.  I’ve got to go corral my little pseudo-felon into bed.

*** Danielle


February 28, 2009 - Posted by | Generation Gap, Maturity, Student Life, University Policies

1 Comment »

  1. I teach at UC Clermont and NKU and have a section about visitors on the syllabus. As long as we don’t violate the Fire Code with room capacity and the visitor isn’t disruptive, I’m fine. Sometimes we cover material that I don’t feel comfortable exposing a young child to (you didn’t mention what type of class you have–I’d agree with the professor if it’s gross anatomy but for most classes I don’t see a problem).

    I’m not sure of the layout of the Monday night class but if there’s a spot for your son to wait outside and you can sit in visual contact of him in the classroom, it could work out. (I could risk this for a 50 minute class but if it’s three hours, I wouldn’t.)

    Comment by Mark | March 6, 2009

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