Monday, August 22, 2011

Why Summer Must End

Me: "Well, it's the last week before school.  What are you going to do with today?"
Child: "Well, I thought I'd brush my teeth..."
Me: "That's not a goal.  That's not even a bullet point towards a goal.  That's baseline."
Mental Note to Me: Get this offspring to aim higher.

Son: "You know what we should do today? We should got to the park. And I could bring my Harry Potter and sit on the swing and read.  Could we go to the Castle Park or maybe a park we've never been to before, because I like reading outside."
Self: He'll bring the book and leave it in the car.  He'll play all day.  He'll love it.  When he gets home, he'll complain if I tell him to read that I ruined the whole experience.  If I ask him to take it with him when he swings, it will be too bright to read, the swinging will give him a headache or he'll explain he's mostly finished and can get to it later. 

It's a perfect day so I don't have an excuse to say no.  I decide to say "Yes." if he reads for an hour first. Turning to answer son.  Son has already left the room to begin another half project, playing Zamboni with his sister strapped in her high chair, found a Tyrannosaurus Rex puppet and was now pretending infant in high chair was a building and enacting a Godzilla movie.

Mental note to me: Need to work on second son's focus.

Daughter: "Mom! I just came from downstairs and she said I couldn't watch TV but she could."
Me: "Have you finished your summer project yet?"
Daughter: "She hasn't either!"
Me:"Get to work then."
Daughter stomps off.  "I never get to do anything!"
Me calling after her: "You Get to do your homework. I'm letting you."

Third son is making a hunting safari out of stalking a singular fly that came in when he went outside to scream at the deer this morning.  Has asked for chips this morning and sighed audibly when I said Cheetos weren't for breakfast and then said, "Alright, but remember it.  I asked for them.  I asked for Cheetos."  and I re find for him his math book that he has lost six times in an attempt to avoid doing it at all.

Having completed a tri-fecta of misery, I went downstairs for the bonus round, changed the code to the television to get all of them banned from the evil machine and explained that 70% of an unfinished project was still unfinished and that by my count, I had four children with all unfinished projects.

"I've done all mine." the kindergartner boasted, only to get universal heaps of scorn from those still saddled with completing projects.  I had her work on her alphabet.  Son who wanted the park punches her piece of paper and runs off with it as she screams.  Son claims the puppet kidnapped the paper.  She howls. Puppet bites and mangles the paper.  The paper is returned.  The daughter is devastated. I take away the puppet, hand out pencils and edicts demanding good behavior.

There is misery everywhere even with the promise of a field trip. I go for perfection and inform the oldest he needs to practice parallel parking, handing him the keys.

As he marches out grimly, I recognize there is a reason I don't home school and why summer must end.  Getting them up at six to get seven lunches made, make sure all are dressed, packed and ready to launch by 7:25 sounds positively peaceful.   Past reality tells me otherwise, but when I begin daydreaming about packing them up to get out the door, start unpacking your long sleeves, go for that last swim, get ready for some football and finish off the ice cream.  Fall is near.


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