Monday, May 07, 2007

It's not always Paradise ovah heah.

Dear Internet,

Those on whom Fate has inflicted my friendship know that, among my handful of sterling qualities, I have amazing willpower. This weekend that came in very, very handy, because this weekend I was very, very sorely tempted to go all Alec Baldwin* on one of my beloved offspring.

Here's the abbreviated version.

A while back we got a note from NOS's teacher to the effect that she hadn't gotten any homework from NOS in some time. "Why, this is odd," we thought naively, "NOS tells us he's been doing his homework just fine." When pressed, NOS admitted to having completely fabricated the "I already did my homework." action line. We had a long, serious talk with him, and moderate discipline ensued.

Thursday we find out he deliberatly hid from us that he had a test on adverbs, because he didn't want to study for it owing to the airing that night of a particularly excellent episode of "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" which he was loath to miss. We had a long, serious talk with him, and somewhat more stringent discipline ensued.

But wait!

Saturday night (that's just 48 hours after the above, for those of you doing the math at home) we find out he has been ditching choir practice for a long time. The news broke because Older Girl Cousin had a piano recital and it would be a couple of hours prior to NOS's scheduled choir recital. After my sister and TFBIM worked on having a bit of dinner for all the uncles, aunts, grandparents, etc. as an after-party, NOS saw his position of being AWOL from choir was no longer tenable.

He explained he had been absent from choir for some time. As in "how long must it be if you couldn't remember how long it was?" Coming on the heels of the Thursday revelation, this was simply too much to put up with from a nine year old. Wisely for him, he broke that tibdit to TFBIM, as she may fly off the handle for a moment, but tends to be less...um...methodical and...er...less rigorous in her discipline. She was so taken aback she could only tell him how disappointed she was and told him to go to sleep.

The next day NOS had a birthday party to attend and, in consideration the birthday boy's parents are very close friends AND they spent a wad on the party (it's a per-person thing) we reluctantly assented to let NOS go, in a "last request for a condemned man" sort of thing. For some bizarre reason the party -- a laser-tag affair -- was 60 minutes away. I took the opportunity to have a long chat with the lad.

I explained to him that it was very unfair of him to make me schlep a full hour earlier to school (plus rushing NTS, who is innocent of any singing AND hates being rushed with a passion) every Thursday for weeks, rain or shine. I explained to him that when he was sick and an excuse -- for the now wildly absent NOS -- was submitted to the music teacher, he must have thought we were an even bigger pair of imbeciles than is readily apparent. To say nothing of the disappointment in having a massive (well, for a nine year old) fraud perpetrated upon us, of now having to call off the brigades of aunts and cousins and grandparents, and that this comes on the heels of previous instances of dishonety...and all the rest.

He asked, tentatively, what his punishment would be. I explained to him that it would be severe. In fact, it was so severe that his mother and I hadn't yet determined something suitable. I further explained to him that our goal was to, in the future, were he tempted to try anything even remotely approaching the neighborhood of this, he would, out of pure reflex, break into a cold sweat and start shuddering freely. My exact remarks on the nature of this disciplinary action were something like "You've never even heard of trouble this bad."

Along the same lines, I mentioned to him that my parents, who had no desire whatsoever to be current with modern parenting theories, would have spanked me until a buttock (possibly two) had detached itself and I had fled down the street seeking asylum and would have taken all my toys and given them to the deserving poor.

I further explained to him that, at the very barest minimum:
He was to go (with TFBIM or me) up to Mr. Music Teacher and apologize in a manner which will be humble, contrite and complete.
He will hereby lose all television, computer/video game, play-date, party and film privileges. Especially important is the loss of TV. In fact, I am very tempted to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights against the TV set, Elvis-style.
He will be given certain new chores (no idea what those are) and a little sticker chart he is to maintain as he completes the assigned tasks.
He will be given some sort of assigned reading by us on the evenings wherein he has no assignments or tests for which to study.
We may pull him out of guitar classes for the duration of his sentence, but we haven't decided on that yet.

To show you how serious we are, we are considering abandoning our Memorial Day trip to Walt Disney World, something TFBIM and I haven't done in 18 years. I'll let you know if anything else springs to mind.

Thus rests the matter.

-J.

* Yet another reason why he's not getting a cell phone.

Posted by Joke at 8:55 AM

17 Comments

  • Blogger Sarah O. posted at 11:34 AM, May 07, 2007  
    What? No threats of military school? :-)

    Homework-shirking is a genetic flaw in our family. Alas, the only thing that's worked for us has been (1)asking the kids (as soon as they get home) what each day's homework is, subject by subject; (2) setting and enforcing a time for them to start homework and (3)checking their homework when finished.

    Emailing teachers works, too - especially if you tell your kid about it. The terror on the kids' faces!
  • Blogger Tere posted at 12:23 PM, May 07, 2007  
    But what was he doing instead of all the stuff he should have been doing? When he was at school early and all?

    And, I know it would be hard for you guys, but I would cancel the Disney trip. To show him just how bad it is, and also so he learns that the selfish actions (or deceptions) of one affects all.
  • Blogger Joke posted at 12:29 PM, May 07, 2007  
    He was just goofing around with his friends who arrive early.

    -J.
  • Blogger blackbird posted at 12:29 PM, May 07, 2007  
    Can I vote for NOT discontinuing guitar class? if only because LEARNING to play an instrument is important?

    Interestingly enough, Middle hasn't HAD homework in such a long time...hmmm.
  • Blogger Badger posted at 1:56 PM, May 07, 2007  
    My handling of the homework issue ovah heah is only ONE of the areas in which certain Third World totalitarian regimes could learn a thing or two from moi.
  • Blogger Major Bedhead posted at 3:47 PM, May 07, 2007  
    I'm with blackbird - keep the guitar lessons, ditch Disney.
  • Blogger teachergirl posted at 5:32 PM, May 07, 2007  
    Being the total evil witch... don't ditch Disney, just don't let him go along. A lesson he'll remember forever and one he will think about anytime he even considers not doing what he's supposed to do.

    However, you might have to start sleeping with one eye open.

    Just depends on how much of a reign of terror you're willing to impose.
  • Blogger shula posted at 12:05 AM, May 08, 2007  
    Starting early, isn't he?

    I'll be following this with interest.

    Mine's still a girly swot.

    But it can't last. She's the only kid in the class to EVER submit homework.
  • Blogger Joke posted at 7:08 AM, May 08, 2007  
    If we jettison the guitar lessons it'd only be for however long he is under sentence...no more than a few weeks.

    As re. cancelling the Disney trip, I will give serious consideration to dropping the lad off at the grands, and proceeding in his absence.

    -J.
  • Blogger Tere posted at 10:40 AM, May 08, 2007  
    Revising my assvice to agree that not allowing him to go to Disney but the rest of you having a good time as planned is a great idea.
  • Blogger Joke posted at 11:26 AM, May 08, 2007  
    The motion having been seconded, is hereby passed by acclamation.

    Without objection it is so ordered.

    -J.
  • Blogger meggie posted at 5:10 PM, May 08, 2007  
    How old is he? 9?
    i have always disagreed with homework, so found it very hard to try to enforce it with my sons & daughter- though she liked doing it!
  • Blogger Stomper Girl posted at 10:26 PM, May 08, 2007  
    I think I'm getting soft in my old age. I'm starting to feel sorry for him....
  • Blogger My float posted at 3:11 AM, May 09, 2007  
    Yes, I agree with Stomper Girl that there's a twinge of sympathy in my veins for your boy. I think he's got the message. If you go in too hard now, what will be left when he's 14 and smoking behind the toilets?
  • Blogger Joke posted at 4:11 AM, May 09, 2007  
    Oh, we'd sell him for medical experiments.

    -J.
  • Blogger Joke posted at 4:12 AM, May 09, 2007  
    PS - Stomper, no need to be sorry YET...we haven't done anything!
  • Blogger Kim posted at 6:57 AM, May 10, 2007  
    My GOODNESS - if he had experienced a quarter of the Angry Mummy I've been manifesting over here...

    Go to Disney. Leave him with the grandparents - and preferably the least favourite/cool ones.
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