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Friday, January 20, 2006

Military Ensurance

“I will militantly ensure required homework gets done.” - Linda, “To Bee or Not To Bee,” posted to blog 1/19/06

The above quote was written only yesterday morning. I had opportunity to prove my militancy regarding homework last night at 10:45pm. Bruce and I were laying in bed, and I was venting about yet another challenging day in a time when I am “emotionally challenged.”

I started to rant about Jack – how he hadn’t finished his homework because neither Bruce nor I were disposed to stand over him and make him; how he hadn’t taken his weekly at-home spelling test; how he’d lost his math homework; how there were errors on his language homework. I shared that, while I don’t expect all his work to be perfect, he had brought home a math test a whole section of which he got wrong. I expressed frustration over his reluctance, no – refusal, to ask his teacher for her help when he doesn’t understand something.

“There is a definite pattern of behavior here that needs to stop now.”

As if waiting for something, Bruce and I both stared at each other for a moment.

Then me: “That does it!” I jumped out of bed. “I am not going to go through all this stuff tomorrow morning. We do not have time in the mornings for spelling tests. He’s going to do it NOW!”

So, with a great deal of effort, dragged my comatose, 65-pound son downstairs for an 11pm spelling test.

His eyes kept rolling back in his head. He kept making a break to dash back up the stairs, and I kept stopping him. I wasn’t sure he was awake at all – his blank stare seemed more like that of a sleep-walker than a conscious person.

Meanwhile, I was ranting away, explaining heatedly the importance of getting work done, and why he shouldn’t have watched movies rather than doing homework. His eyes were saucers.

After he was somewhat awake, he took the test. He got them all right. We reviewed the language paper and I pointed out his mistakes, which he promptly corrected. I drilled him about where his math paper might be, but we couldn’t find it anywhere.

Finally, he was excused and he went back to bed.

I’m sure he’ll be scarred for life. I just guaranteed the need for therapy later on.

I know he is just a kid. I know kids can be flaky and irresponsible. I know that my job as a parent is to make sure his work get’s done, and to make sure he understands it. Unfortunately, as I explained to Bruce, there are just those days when SO MUCH ELSE is going on, that schoolwork gets overlooked. My oldest dog has been in crisis since Wednesday and I’m very worried about her. Sabrina’s birthday is tomorrow, and last night I had to bake cupcakes for her at-school celebration. The chicken noodle soup I made last night took a long time, because I had to make the stock from scratch. Bruce has had a difficult week at work, so he needed more re-charge time than he usually does. The kids have all been whiny and high-strung and tantruming. It’s just been one of those weeks.

As I told Jack, if he isn’t able to take more responsibility for his work, depending on Bruce and I to make him do it, and we encounter anomolously chaotic weeks like this one, then this is what he can expect: being woken in the middle of the night to get it done.

Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to look the other way. Not where my kids are concerned.

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