I am so far behind. In EVERYTHING. The house is a wreck (let’s be real…more of a wreck than usual…housekeeping has never been my strong point). I’ve only worked a few hours (thankfully, my boss is aware of our circumstances and is very understanding). My favorite blogs are neglected. Writing a post? Pipe dream.
My friend told me, smiling, “I know some of my friends grit their teeth when the kids are out of school, but I just love it when my son is home. He’s so helpful and sweet.” I didn’t tell her my molars are missing about a millimeter since Christmas.
Some days when school is closed, I feel we’ve accomplished a lot. Teachers send additional work several times a month (anytime they get an F or D, we work on the concept at home), so even during unexpected breaks, the kids have practice pages to complete.
I’ll admit, I’m jealous of my friends who’ve had their kids since birth, taught the alphabet as they changed diapers (or nappies, for my friends across the pond), read Seuss at bedtime.
My kids, after being with us four years, are still far behind their peers. Most of my friends who don’t work outside their homes snuggle up in jammies and watch movies all day with their kiddos. We don’t have that luxury.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we play hooky. The day of the Big Snow, we truly had a snow day because I just couldn’t resist my son’s plea, “Snow is precious.” In general, though, our days at home are spent learning. We’ve found that if they don’t continually practice, the kids return to school as though they’ve had a memory wipe. Daily practice (and a lot of it) is necessary. (The school even gives me extra books in summertime and we summer-school at home.)
So, about my worst-case scenario.
The hyenas have been home all week. Every day. Ten days without a break. And these have not been “accomplished” days. The kids took hours to complete school work (pages which could have easily been done in 45 minutes to an hour). They each have a method of delaying or drawing out the school time. Our son dallies and dreams; our daughter pretends she doesn’t understand the concepts. This week, they used their tactics to the height of their talent. The muscles in my jaw got a serious workout.
They completed their few assigned chores but required constant supervision and commentary. “Cleaning the sink does not mean swiping with a rag. If there’s still toothpaste, you didn’t actually wipe it.” These tasks should take about 45 minutes.
I know they hope I’ll give up and say, “Well, you’ve spent enough time on math. Go play,” or “Forget it. Let me do that; it will be faster.” The funny thing is, I can’t think of a time I have, but I’m sure it must have happened. I can’t imagine they’d continue the behavior if it hadn’t worked at some point.
Tenacious should probably be my middle name. By the time they completed their school and chore assignments (which, again, should have taken under two hours at the max), it was time to get ready for dinner. I thought, “Surely, they will see the benefit of working faster so they can go play,” but I was mistaken. Every day.
On Thursday evening, Hubby held my face in his hands, kissed me on the nose and said lovingly, “Your eye is beginning to twitch.”
On Saturday, he took the kids out for three hours, bless him.
Last night, we had a long family discussion about problems happening consistently since Christmas, and increased in the last ten days: lying and not obeying. They have become talented at lying to our faces (we used to know immediately, but now it’s harder to tell). If we instruct them to do something, they either do the opposite or do nothing.
It’s like water torture. I have to constantly supervise them. After ten full days of this, I’m exhausted and very glad ground teeth don’t feel pain. (Until they crack…which may happen.)
At the end of our discussion last night, the children agreed that they have not been contributing to a happy home environment and committed verbally to do better. They recited the list of what they each needed to do in the morning to be ready for school and promised to do it.
This morning, however, nothing had changed. Our daughter woke up before six thirty, showered and dressed, then sat at the table for an hour, doing nothing. Like, actually nothing. Our son was half dressed at the time we normally needed to leave for school. (School has a delayed opening this morning.)
However, they are going back to school (WOOT WOOT) so I will have peace and quiet and can get a few hours in for work. (Conversation with adults? Yes, please.) I can catch up on some cleaning, read a couple blogs, insert my famous “you didn’t ask for this but I proofread your blog post” commenting, and maybe even get a thirty minute nap. This is definitely the best case scenario.
I just looked out the window. It’s snowing. Again.
Well, molars, it’s been a good run.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Worst Case Scenario.”