I’m going to go ahead and give myself an A for effort today. If I had a boss over the age of 10, my performance review would probably read a bit differently. “Jill needs improvement in several areas of parenting. Please see the 20 page addendum for specifics.”
School has started, we’re three weeks in, and I seriously want to punch myself in the face repeatedly every single night. I have two kids in school at the moment. One gets off the bus, does her homework without fuss, and begs to read additional minutes at bedtime. The other one? Yeah, not so much.
The “other one” is in first grade. Her homework consists of drawing a picture for fun, doing simple math on her fingers, and studying a few very basic spelling words that she knew how to spell over two years ago. She has all week to complete these very demanding intellectual tasks, yet apparently can’t be bothered with such ridiculousness. She is a princess after all. And she fits the bill to a damn T. Pretty, demanding, self-serving, demanding, and in need of servants round the clock to achieve any sort of real goal.
While her unique personality is addicting and quite honestly one of my favorite things about her, at the end of the day, it can also just really really piss me off. She marches to the beat of her own drum and will ruthlessly stomp over anyone and/or anything that gets in her way. If she doesn’t want to do something, she will not do it. No amount of reasoning, positive reinforcement, encouragement, punishment, threats and/or screaming is going to change her mind.
It’s not that she isn’t capable either. She reads at a third grade level and is quite honestly too smart for her own good.
Tonight’s very demanding assignment involved listing five things you like to do (gasp!). The horror! What kind of teacher would give out such an assignment? She’s in first grade for Christ’s sake! She’s not a rocket scientist, nor does she live in China where educational expectations are well beyond the years of any given child’s brain capacity.
Please allow me to paint you a more clear picture.
She could’ve doubled as a table cloth, draped over the dining room table in a manner that would suggest someone just stole her best friend and/or canceled her birthday. Whining, tears, more whining, more tears…you get the point.
“It’s too hard Mommy!”
“What’s too hard? Listing 5 things you like to do?”
“I can’t do it. It’s too hard!”
“Do you know what’s too hard? Sitting with your child for 45+ minutes trying every humane approach possible to get her to do this ridiculously easy assignment that should’ve taken less than 5 minutes to complete without pulling what’s left of my hair out and/or damaging my vocal cords in the process. Here are some examples…”
- I like to play Barbies.
- I like to wear dresses.
- I like to read.
- I like to chew gum.
- I like to not brush my teeth.
- I like to make the simplest of tasks so fucking difficult for my mother to withstand and then arrogantly sit back and watch her face turn that weird purple color, again.
“There, I’ve given you plenty of examples. Pick a few.”
Well that would be a sweet end to this story, wouldn’t it?
She didn’t pick any of them, nor did she come up with some of her own. She dug her feet in a bit deeper and then nonverbally challenged her mother to a very real pissing contest.
I’ll spare you the details. It wasn’t pretty and I assure you, there was no clear winner.
Here’s the thing, it’s not so much the fact that she didn’t want to complete this assignment, but rather the very real glimpse of what my future holds when she has real homework to complete.
“You want to see hard kid? Google “algebra.” It sucks, and it’s coming for you, whether you can list five damn things that you like to do or not. And I’m pretty sure you won’t “like” it either, so you can leave that one off of your nonexistent list.”
Final decision! We are never moving to China.