On Friday afternoon, Connor said, “can I do a worksheet, so I can earn a trip to McDonald’s, I only need one more sticker?”
Then two things happened. The first was that I jumped up and sprinted across the room to get a worksheet so fast, that I almost sprained my ankle. When a request like that happens, there’s no time to dilly-dally in meeting it, lest the momentum be lost. So I limped over and found a spelling worksheet, and got Connor set up at the table.
The other thing that happened was that I was overcome with a feeling of triumph and superiority, because my cleverly devised plan of setting up a rewards chart was working so well that my child was asking to do a worksheet. Oh yeah, I totally rock at this parenting thing.
My clever friends will see that this feeling of accomplishment and mastery was both foolhardy and premature. But that kind of parenting high is so rare, that I let myself indulge and bask in the warm glow of satisfaction.
I left Connor at the table to do his worksheet,and went into the other room to fold laundry, all the while feeling smug in my clearly superior parenting ability.
A couple of minutes went by and I returned to the kitchen in time to see Connor walking across the room with something being held behind his back. “What have you got behind your back”, I asked.
“Oh”, I said. “Well put them away, you don’t need scissors unless you’re working on crafts.”
My thinking was obviously clouded by my newfound feeling of awesomeness, because I totally didn’t even wonder why he had his scissors out.
He told me he was finished with his worksheet, so I came over to check his answers.
They looked pretty good. But something didn’t seem quite right.
Huh, weird. There’s no space for the last two answers. Maybe I should just compare the paper to the rest of the workbook.
Crafty little shit, isn’t he?? It’s called “shortened assignment, accommodations.”
So now that I came crashing back to earth with a thud and long, painful skid, it was safe to go back to being pissy mom. So I made him write the answers anyway, in the space above the question.
I really should have known better than to let the moment go to my head. For several years, in the game of Mom vs. Connor, I’ve been outmatched nearly every step of the way.
So screw it, I took him to McD’s anyway. I figure he earned a reward for his clever problem-solving skills.