Monday, September 13, 2010

Another late night

So this morning, when I got into work, I looked at my feet and saw purple Crocs...These are my ugly/stupid shoes that I wear to walk the dog or take out the trash as the truck is coming or some other non-public event. What the heck am I doing wearing them into an office? The short answer is not enough sleep.

When people think about the trials of parenting and staying up half the night, they picture crying babies. When my kids were babies, they slept. I kept them close at hand, and nursed as required, so no getting out of bed, warming bottles or pacing and singing. I know I was lucky then. Now? Not so lucky.

My sleep stealing demon is homework. And instead of being measured in months of sleep issues, homework issues are years. Really, I see more than 1.5 decades of torture between 3 kids. And the worst are these stinking projects. I think there's a concept that long term projects help kids learn planning and organization. HA! I'm fairly sure the only thing that's being learned is that there are multiple ways to screw up a big project, although all of them are variations on the theme of procrastination.

So here's my attempt at being a "good" "supportive" parent of a kid who has a project:
1. Ask every day how school is going and if there are projects in the works for any classes
2. Once a project is mentioned ask how big it is and how long you've got to accomplish it
3. On the weekend before a project is due ask how much more has to be done over the weekend
4. Throughout the weekend periodically ask for status updates, i.e. "How's that project going?"
5. Help when asked if possible, especially when it comes to printing/scanning/formatting/proof-reading.

So why, with such a reasonable plan, did I end up not getting to sleep until 2:00am with a 6:15 alarm bell? Middle child decided that open, honest communication cramped her style and kept her from having fun. And the more often I asked, the harder it was to admit that she had not started on said project. After repeatedly being told on Sunday evening that, "I'll be done in just a few minutes" (how can you be minutes from being done for more than an hour?), I went and saw that a multi-page project was barely started at 8pm.

That is where an evening of unpleasantness started:
1. "Clearly you can't be trusted to work in your room - come downstairs so I can watch you work."
2. "Did you think I would never figure out you were lying to me?"
3. "Do you think this project, rushed through while you’re crying and sleepy, will be a good reflection of the work that you are capable of?"
4. "Put on headphones, because if I'm going to have to stay up half the night while you do this, I am watching some Netflix that is not kid-appropriate" - Dexter, in case you're curious.
5. "You know there's no way that I am helping you in any aspect of this project, right?"
6. Variations on the above statements with an emphaisis on "What is your plan now?", "What were you thinking?", "How are we going to keep this from happening again?"

So, the project (that I barely looked at, besides to say "Don't you need a date and class number on the cover?") got completed at around 1:00am. I was so spun up from lecturing that I couldn't fall asleep until 2:00am and am now pretty much of a basket case. Plus I kept on asking myself how I had been such a failure of a parent to get into a situation like this. What should I have done differently either short term, or long term?

At this point a crying infant and pacing/singing through the night seems more rewarding.

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