Looky, Mom! I got an A on my report card!
Your Vocabulary Score: A-
Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!You must be quite an erudite person.
And the RTR does fairly well in that area also, but suffice it to say the school shenanigans have surfaced again. In other words, periods of time where small things like several homework assignments in a row aren’t done. Or a zero shows up on a quiz for absolutely no reason on this Earth. None.
That means I have to have one of those conversations with him—those I absolutely can’t stand and really wonder whether they do any good at all.
“Blarg,” as The RTR would say. Just Blarg.
So the conversation went something like this…
Me: (annoyed, but feigning calmness) Can you tell me about why you didn’t get these assignments done?
The RTR: (looking at me with a pleasant expression) I just didn’t do them. That’s all.
Me: So when you said you were doing your homework, you were only doing some of your homework.
The RTR: (eyebrows begin to flatten a bit) Yes. I guess.
Me: (knowing that I shouldn’t throw in this cheap shot and that I’ll pay for it as soon as it comes out of my mouth) So that’s like telling me a lie, isn’t it?
The RTR: (not blinking, just staring right at me) Yes. It is.
Me: Was it hard? Did you not understand it? Or…
The RTR: (beginning to tire of this interrogation) No, I just didn’t do it. I don’t know why.
Me: That doesn’t make sense to me. Homework is such an easy part of a grade and it can help make up for those less than stellar test scores.” (And isn’t this completely stupid when one considers that homework is practice, should help prepare for a test, and should be something that can mathematically improve a grade if a test does what a test should do, which is TEST.)
The RTR: (sits down at the kitchen counter putting hand against head and leaning elbow on counter) *sigh*
Me: (looking at the grading sheet and beginning to put two and two together) Wait. This assignment wasn’t completed on the day after our last discussion? The one where I told you that we all get to make choices and it’s your call about whether they’re good ones or bad ones. So yet again, I’ve just made noise. I’ve just been blathering for no reason. (sits on kitchen floor like a five-year-old who really wants to have a tantrum, and leans against the cabinet, completely disgusted and just wanting to make a spectacle at this point)
The RTR: (no longer as pleasant as he normally is and baring his teeth somewhat) I. KNOW. O.K.?
Me: (still sitting on the floor and realizing is quite cool and that I should do it more often to stave off the hot flashes I’m now on a first-name basis with) NO. IT’S. NOT. O.K. And when I’m the one who’s being rude to you, then you have the right to answer me that way.
The RTR: (calmer, but with a twitching eye) I’m. Sorry. But I already told you I don’t know why I do it. I just don’t do my work. And I don’t know why.
What do you say to a kid like this? Clearly he’s into self-torture. Go figure. So the inevitable happened. I warned him when we last talked. I told him the computer would be unavailable until he could establish a pattern of no missing assignments and a passing grade on his next math quiz/test which is looming Tuesday.
And so the computer was shut down, its whir no longer creating white noise 24 hours a day thereby reducing our gas & electric bill by a few bucks. It’s been off (and I know it because he hasn’t been in the house by himself since I imposed the ban). Since then, he’s gone to math tutoring, which is a feat in itself because he has to be reminded eight-thousand times. He’s handled it well, casting not one arched brow in my direction, and passing out hugs like he always has.
But it’s the weekend. And he keeps coming around the corner to see what I’m doing. It’s got to be painful hearing me click these keys when he can’t turn on his computer. To ease it up after two days in the dungeon, I tempted him with an opportunity to read Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis on line because we had been discussing perspective for a story he was writing for English. I figured he might be intrigued about a person waking to find himself transformed to an enormous bug lying on its back in bed and not able to do anything but think.
But no. So cool. I know where the line in the sand is drawn with him. He’s a cold turkey type of person.
And then the next day, still feeling sorry for him in his sans computer state, and because he needed to sign up for the SAT and the SAT II for World History (which he needs to take while the content is fresh and he has a 98% in that class!) I asked him if he could get on line and take care of it for me since it was really his job. He must have been techno-starved, because he took the bait on this one and sat down. Little did he know that it would take nearly as long as it took me to sign up for health insurance.
But he got it done and boy is that a relief to me since I won’t have to harass him about doing it.
The next day, I asked if he’d like to make dinner. I helped prep the ingredients, of course, but he pretty much cooked the Crab & Andouille Sausage with Rice that night, and did a very nice job.
He’s struggling today, though, so it’s about time for me to go to the grocery store and leave him with his conscience. Will he get on line while I’m gone, or not?
I won’t check, because it’s not worth it. I choose my battles.
But I did tell him last time he came around the corner that we’ll negotiate after Tuesday just how much time he gets to spend on the computer until he can establish a steady record of completed assignments and consistently passing grades in all subjects on all assignments. I can no longer tolerate a B+ on a test, and then a D on the next quiz. Or a string of A’s on homework, and then three missing assignments in a row.
And I really got his attention when I told him that if it doesn’t happen, then he will lose the computer for a month. And I can blame this on Phil at Thought Sparks, because he stopped drinking coffee for 35 days and made a new habit that he has stuck with all this time. I wince when I think of not having my coffee, so more power to Phil. But I wince even more when I think of having to rationalize television watching as a better activity than some of what The RTR was doing on the computer, like sharing his sketches and hooking up with other kids who also sketch for starters.
I hope he cheats when I’m at the grocery store.
But the MoH just got home, so I guess that’s not going to happen.
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