Holy Hoc-a-Moly

So sayeth The Boy. I think he's trying to say, "Holy Guacamole," and I'm not quite sure where he heard this expression, but I share the sentiment. Being 32 weeks pregnant and teaching is tiring, yo.

This has been a good but long and busy week. I have a list, already, of emails I need to send out, and tasks that I have to accomplish. I have quizzes to grade. Recommendations to finally, finally, write (my poor students). I have phone calls to return. I have that damn Leadership Academy report to write (yup, I missed the deadline). And I have an office submersed in about 2 tons of paper because I decided to clean out my filing cabinets. (And yes, this is a task that doesn't really scream out Important! Must be done now! unless, of course, you're me, and particularly sensitive about the fact that you've hoarded about eight years of paper scraps that you barely look at anymore. Everything must go! scream the cells in my body. I think this is a preggo-thing, and I suspect that I'm nesting. If I cannot nest at home, I shall do so at work.)

I have managed to keep my mornings sacred, though, and work on writing. I've been whittling away at one of those verse play monologues I drafted in November. Cutting lines, replacing lines, rebuilding lines, etc. It's been slow but gratifying and I'm enjoying, once again, being a writer.

I battled with my daughter this week over a research project that she had to complete -- the first research project she's been assigned in her three years of elementary school, actually. And I believe I went all Tiger Mom on the poor girl.

The process began innocently and smoothly enough. She brought the assignment -- to construct a timeline of an object, an artifact, on poster board -- home last Friday. We went to the library on Saturday, and she spent the time there taking notes (in crayon) from a children's encyclopedia about her chosen artifact -- the telephone. And she had fun! She was finding all sorts of facts that she found interesting -- for some reason, it really intrigued her that Alexander Graham Bell was Scottish, and that Elisha Gray almost earned credit for inventing the telephone. (Neither of those facts made it to the final timeline, mind you, but she was impressed for a brief moment.)

Research is far more enjoyable when one uses crayon.
We checked out a book on the telephone so that she could continue the project during the week -- it was due today, Friday, and the plan was to do a little bit of additional research each night, since she'd really only covered the invention of the telephone. 

But then she went to school. And on Wednesday, some kid at school brought his or her timeline in early, and on it were only -- gasp! -- 4 facts -- and Little Miss Talkalot got it into her head that any more than the minimum number of facts required by the assignment (4) was not only unnecessary, but detrimental to her grade on the project.

Our conversation about this began, again, calmly and quietly enough. But very quickly it escalated, and Little Miss Talkalot morphed into her alter-ego, Little Miss Drama Queen, and there were many, many tears and some dramatic stomping up the stairs and talking to herself from her bed in the hopes that I would hear just how miserable I was making her with my unfair, scary-adherence-to-standards-she-didn't-understand. 

I have vague memories of doing this to my own mother. So this is, really, kharmic payback. 

I tried explaining that, even though she'd written more than four-facts-worth of notes, she wasn't done with the actual history of the telephone. I tried reminding her about the fun she'd had looking up stuff on the subject so far. Then I tried being stern and saying something along the lines of "I-don't-care-what-your-slacker-idiot-friends-do-you're-not-going-to-be-a-minimum-requirement-moron," which was -- of course -- totally rational and kind and called for. Totally good parenting, there.

I left her sobbing in her bedroom and went downstairs to A. The poor man was frozen through from his day of working in 8 degree weather, and was trying to take a quiet, hot bath in the only peaceful room of the household -- our bathroom. Oh, the blessed sanctuary of the bathroom! It provides such seconds of alone time! Except, of course, when your bat-shit crazy pregnant wife comes storming in to complain about your seven-year old daughter and then melts down and begins begging for help, not really knowing what the correct course of action is anymore.

Patient A. listened to my blathering, assured me I wasn't in the wrong, and then dragged his half-defrosted limbs out of the bathtub, dried off, dressed, and proceeded to arbitrate.

In the end I won, of course. A. reminded Miss Talkalot that she had zero chance of being a lazy child in our household when it came to school work, that maybe her college professor mother knew what she was talking about, and that she was going to finish the project according to what her mother dictated, not what the other students in the class had done. 

As you might have surmised, there was no satisfaction in winning this argument. I really wanted for her first project like this to be a good, positive lesson -- she'd even written down the names of her books so that she could cite her sources -- and I feel like all it did was teach her that her mother is a tyrant and more than a little bit crazypants.

 Oy. Last night she finished the timeline -- with me hovering over her, reminding her every 5 seconds that she had to slow down and plan the timeline before she began marking up one of our two only sheets of poster board. She was a good sport, because when it comes down to it she's really a sweet little girl and determined to be a team player, but after she was finished and A. and I were singing her praises, she still looked a little let down. I asked her what was wrong, and she said quietly that it had a lot of writing on it -- a lot more than the other students' timelines -- and that it didn't look like those timelines that were already turned in.

She used a lot of exclamation points, so I'm going to assume
she was still excited about the project when she did this,
no matter what her little frowny-face conveyed.

*Sigh* I see a long road ahead of us. And I'm not sure I'm going to do any of this parenting thing very well.

Good thing we're having another! Amaright?!


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