Sink or Swim

sink or swim

Sink or Swim. You all know I am very “you make your own mistakes” in regards to my kids. If you don’t, you must not be a faithful reader. Yet.

In general, my kids will succeed or fail on their own. Their successes make me happy, but they are their own. Their failures make me sad, but again, they are their own. The most I can, and will, do is provide the tools for them to do it on their own. 

Example: E has a multi-genre project that was due on a Tuesday in the beginning of February. About a month prior I purchased clay for her. Ok, BrotherMine took her to the store and purchased clay for her using money I gave him. Same thing. The store didn’t have the cheap Crayola air-dry clay, so she got a huge package of Sculpey instead. Said package was crazy expensive, but with a half off coupon it wasn’t so bad. So every few days, in between her playing with the Sculpey, and baking items that have nothing at all to do with her project, I am asking her if she is doing her project. And I am pretty sure the answer was “I’m doing that in school” Every. Single. Time. So I left it alone. How many times can you ask? 

Fast forward to that Tuesday morning. I am enjoying some time with the husband, relaxing before a stressful week, and I get a phone call. A tearful little girl says quietly “Mommy?” and the phone is (I imagine) snatched away from her by the teacher and I get a stern talking-to about how her project was due today and she showed up with nothing, not even the parts that she has worked on in school and the teacher knows are finished.

Whoah. Back up. Remember up at the top of this post where I said sink or swim on their own? Yah, I’ve had that conversation with this same teacher at least a dozen times, per kid, as she’s now had all three of mine. And she has to cover her ass, I get that. But don’t make me feel three inches tall and like I didn’t do my project. I am not in fifth grade. Not this year, not three years ago, not four years ago. And then she tells me I need to parent better. After telling me about pieces of a project that she knows are completed but weren’t turned in. 

So said little girl was not able to go to dance on Monday and had to stay home and work on her project. Which she did from 3PM – 10PM and then did a little more in the morning. 

Her prerogative. But if she fails a project worth 80% of her Language Arts grade, that is also her prerogative. She knew about the project, she knows about the consequences. I would so much rather her learn that lesson now than learn it in college. Or at her job. Shit needs to get done, and it needs to get done to spec and on time. Period. Not after, not half-assed, not ignored.

So now it’s April. Grades have come in. Yep, there is an “F” down there under Language Arts. So, lesson learned? I think so. She hasn’t dawdled over homework (that I know of) since then. She’s more or less on top of her schoolwork. We had some health-crisis thrown in there, which, in retrospect probably contributed slightly to the homework/schoolwork problem, but not enough to excuse it. 

So she sank a little, but she’s swimming now. Lesson learned. We’ve explained how she wound up with an F, now let’s forget it and move on. 


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