I leave the building after signing out in the office, and I find my kids inside the car, arguing. Yelling. Finger pointing, gesturing, shouting. Then they both have to explain to me (at high volume, at the SAME TIME, with more gesturing and finger pointing) why the other one is at fault for starting/continuing this argument.
Oh. My. Goodness.
It was a "just kill me now" moment. In the middle of the high school parking lot, with other teachers, parents, and students walking by, my kids are having a complete meltdown. I'm trying to be reasonable but firm, as calm as I can under the circumstances. (At one point I asked another teacher, getting into her car next to mine, if she wanted a couple kids. She declined. She doesn't have kids of her own yet, and we may just have ensured that she never procreates.) By the end of the "conversation" I had two defiantly quiet, thoroughly grounded kids.
And I still had to stop at the grocery store.
So I dragged SG into the store with me, and left PYY reading in the car. We grabbed an armful of items and went home. (Because it was an Aldi store, and I didn't have a quarter to unlock a shopping cart, and I didn't want to go back to the car to scrounge for change because that would bring the kids close together again, so I didn't do the full shopping trip I'd originally intended.)
So. Two grounded kids. No cookout tonight (because I don't want to reward their atrocious behavior with a treat). They're in their rooms until dinner, with no electronic devices that play games or connect to the internet (radio/MP3 is okay). When my loving husband called to see how my day had gone, I informed him that I would be doing the rest of the grocery shopping tomorrow afternoon - ALONE.
Sheesh. I can leave the two kids in the house for upwards of an hour and a half for my exercise class and they're fine, but they cannot seem to coexist in a car without parental supervision.
What a pain.
Oh, and I did eventually get to the bottom of the argument: Safety Guy didn't want to ride home with PYY, and he told her that she had to ride the bus because he had the keys and wouldn't let her in the car.
Postscript, 8 hours later: The kids calmed down after some cooling off time in their rooms. They've been determinedly polite to me, and they even apologized to each other after dinner without me having to prompt them. Spontaneous apologies and requests for forgiveness? Wow, I'm thrilled, and amazed. They did need a prompt to apologize to me, though. Oh well, small steps. Now if we can just make it through the weekend, and I'll count my blessings that the meltdown didn't happen IN the school.