I went back to work today. Mostly it went great. There was one moment early on, when one of my students ran up to give me a "welcome back" hug, and accidentally slammed her forehead into my chin. That, of course, shot my head back a bit....OW...but other than that, everything was fine. I got more and more tired, and therefore stiff as the day went on, but I survived.
I came home and Patrick made me some lunch, gave me meds and my moist heat compress...and I slept. For FIVE hours. ZOMG. Yeah. I'm hoping I can sleep tonight! Yikes.
When I woke up from my "nap," Patrick told me that Shannon had forgotten to bring home an integral part of her homework, and that she had freaked out a bit. Normally we'd just make her "face the consequences," but apparently this assignment was a pretty big deal, and Shan had figured out a way to make it work. She had arranged to get it from her friend, bring it home and make a copy, and then take the original back to her friend. But then Patrick said something that shocked me. "She is scared of you."
Wait. WHAT? I asked him what made him say that, and he said that her being afraid of me was the biggest reason she was freaking out. I was totally stunned and hurt by that. I asked him if he felt I should talk to her about it, or what. He said that he'd talk to her while they drove to/from her friend's house.
While they were gone, I just kept trying to figure out if she is truly "scared" of me? or just afraid to disappoint me? I don't know! But I've never, ever given her reason to be afraid of me. When she's forgotten things or made mistakes in the past, I'm not one to over-react or shame her, etc. So I just really didn't know where this was coming from...but it really hurt my feelings.
When they got home, she came in and we talked about it. I think the root of it was more along the lines of not wanting to disappoint me. Also, she has seen me angry a few times, and she said that she felt really dumb for forgetting this paper, and was "afraid" that my reaction would be an angry one. I talked to her about not trying to "guess" what my reaction would be...that that really wasn't fair, especially when I'd never really reacted in the way she was fearing.
It ended up being a really good talk...but wow! I hope I handled this the right way. I don't want her (especially as we head into her teen years) to be afraid to come to me, talk to me, etc.