Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Folder Wars

The boys have school folders, which Chris and I are supposed to review every night.  I know that because we have to initial them every night.  So that's how I know that Chris and I, as parents, are supposed to monitor the folders.  Also the school told us that.

But Chris thinks, "It's not my folder, I don't care if it's done."

I know he thinks this because it is the argument he used when I chastised him for not reviewing the folder.

It's compelling logic, but I feel there might be a flaw in there.

Anyhow, the folders.  They drive us bananas.  They are the worst things ever.

It's all a bunch of notes and papers and homework to be done and homework already done and schoolwork and blah blah blah.

And that is exactly how Owen feels about the whole mess.

Once, when Sam was in the first grade, I literally had to push him weeping out of the car because he had forgotten his homework and was going to get a task mark.

(I don't know, but it sounds bad, right?)

Sam cares deeply.

Owen lost his homework the other day, and I said he had to ask for a new packet and he said, "No, that's okay.  I'll just get a task mark."

(Owen has apparently figured out that task marks are simply the lack of a paw stamp and, not being a granola bar, meaningless.)

Last Sunday I was cleaning up (yes, it does happen around here occasionally) and I saw Owen's completed homework on the dining room floor.  I shouted for Owen to come get his homework and put it in his folder.  I mentally note, when he scoops it up, that he trollops back to the living room, which, oddly, is not where his folder is.   I know, because I can see it sitting, right there, on the dining room table.

A few minutes pass and Owen comes running in to the kitchen, laughing because he and Sam were having a sword fight and he was running way from Sam. He was holding his now quite mangled homework packet (no longer in packet form - loose leaf!) in his hands.

"Owen," I said calmly, "go put your . . . (this is the part where I managed not to say 'goddamned') homework in your . . . (ditto) folder."  Maybe it wasn't super-calmly.

He slinks off.  But, again, not anywhere in the direction of where I can still plainly see his folder.

I give it a minute and I walk to the playroom.

"Owen," I say, teeth the tiniest bit clenched, "come here."

At this point he looks at me, places his homework on the ground next to him, places a book on top of it, glances, places another book to make sure it is completely hidden, and gazes innocently into my eyes as he says, "What?"

I tried to yell at him, but he just stood there so gently, nodding his head in emphatic agreement, that I just kind of felt like an asshole.

I told him that if he didn't know where his folder was, he had to ask for help.  That if we asked him to do something, and he didn't know how, he couldn't just lie about it, he had to ask for help.

"I know, mom.  I know.  You're right.  Compwetwy.  I make myself crazy, too, mom."

And then later I found his homework stuffed in the couch cushions.

I'm going to need to check a few parenting books out of the library.  Last time I did that was for potty training.  I think I need a refresh.

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