Saturday, September 27, 2008

"Can I take a nap instead?"

Another example of my stellar parenting skills:

Matthew is in third grade. His reading goal for the 9 weeks is 20 Reading Counts points, achieved by taking tests over approved books at his level. He's been reading the same book since the first week of school. Yes, it's a long book, and yes, it's a bit advanced for him, but he chose it, and I wasn't about to let him give up halfway through because it was "too hard." (It's not too hard, by the way.)

So we've been working really hard at reading every night, but I don't get home from class till after 8 most nights, so it's been slow going. He has TWO chapters left. Probably 30 minutes of reading if he focuses. I told him an hour ago, after he played all day, that he needed to finish his book.

He brings his book into the kitchen, where I'm feeding Oliver some disgusting pureed ham and apples, and starts to play with Oliver.

Mom: Matthew, go read someplace where you won't be distracted.

Kid: But I thought I'd read out here with you.

Mom: Please go read someplace where you won't be distracted.

But I'll be kind of lonely out there (Note: "out there" means seven feet away in the livingroom.)

Mom: Go read now or you'll have to read in your room.

Can I go to the bathroom first?

Mom: Yes, you may go to the bathroom, but then you need to start reading.

Five minutes later, I hear the sound of someone slithering across the floor behind the couch. Lauren is in her high chair eating raisins, and Oliver is sitting by my feet.

Mom: Matthew?

What? (Sticks head out from behind couch, where he's apparently been hiding)

Mom: What are you doing?


Mom: Why aren't you reading?

I don't know.

Mom: Please get your book.

(Gets book, opens to right chapter, starts reading aloud verrrrrry slowly in annoying high-pitched voice. I ignore.)

Mom, I have....(flips pages)...only twelve pages left!

Mom: Quit counting and READ THEM!

(Flops over on the couch. A moment later, slides to an upside-down position and tries to read his book upside-down hanging over the edge of the couch.)

Mom: Okay, apparently you can't focus on your book out here. Please go to your room.

(acts shocked) But....I was going to read!

Mom: Please go read in your room. You can come out when you finish the book.


Mom: You may not come out until your book is finished.

Can I take a nap instead?

Mom: I don't care, but I don't want to see you out here again until your book is finished. So if you start to get hungry or thirsty, you'd better read faster.

Can I have a drink now?

Mom: Yes, you may have a drink now. You have ten seconds. One, two, three.... (he sits and looks at me until about seven, then runs to the kitchen)

Mom: Now take your book and go. (He stomps to his room and slams the door)

30 minutes later, door opens, kid emerges.


Mom: Is your book done?

No, but...

Mom: Then go back in your room.

But I fell asleep!

Mom: Go back in your room.

(slams door again)

Five minutes later, door opens again.

Mom, what can I have to eat?


(meekly returns to room)

Two minutes later:


Mom: You'd better be bleeding.

My ear thingy came off my glasses.

(I fix the ear thingy, which he apparently pulled off, and sent him back to his room again.)

Another five minutes passes.

Mom, I only have two short chapters left. Can I please read out there? (Note: he only had two short chapters left when he was sent to his room. Progress in the last hour or so: 0 pages)

Mom: GET IN YOUR ROOM NOW! I don't want to see or hear you again till your book is finished!

(Seriously....I really don't get why he doesn't like to read. I read at least two or three books a week on top of my college class reading. His reading ability is considerably above grade level. We have TONS of books in the house, we often read together, and we've been reading to him since he was a baby. So I'm not sure where this is coming from. Probably the same place where the D's on math tests are coming from.)

Eight questions for the Powers That Be...

1. How is it possible that my not-quite-crawling baby can spot ONE TINY SPECK OF DIRT halfway across the house, and manage to scoot all the way there and have it in his mouth in 3.2 seconds?

2. Why is it so much more fun for two-year-olds to take pots and pans out of cupboards than it is to put them back in?

3. Why am I the worst mom ever because my eight-year-old can't watch television until his room is clean? (He's had the ability to earn tv rights for FOUR WEEKS, and yet he resists. Eventually the bedroom will be condemned by the health department, or maybe I'll find a family of raccoons nesting in the closet clutter.)

4. Why do I hate cleaning my kitchen, when I love having a clean kitchen?

5. What's wrong with wrinkly laundry?

6. Why am I writing blog posts when I should be studying?

7. Who the heck came up with the idea for Yo Gabba Gabba?

8. Why didn't I take a nap when I had a chance today?