Monday, January 3, 2011

Lessons never learned

I have completed elementary school, junior high, high school, a bachelor's degree, and two master's degrees.

For every single assignment for every one of those educational programs, I waited until the night before it was due to really get started on it.

Yes, I admit, I either have the worst case of ADD or I am lazy or because I have always been a very good student, saw no reason to change.

Thankfully there were computers when I completed my Master's Degrees as I would press print as I ran for a quick shower, grabbing my papers off the printer, just in time to get to class.

My parents tried to change me. When a big assignment was due the next day and I was just starting it, they would make me stay up by myself and finish it.

I remember sitting at the kitchen table crying, sure that if I cried long and hard enough, that my mother would rescue me. Now as a mother, I know how difficult that must have been.

BUT the worst part it did nothing to change my behavior! I took a class called simply, "Motivation". It was one of the worst classes I have ever taken and the only way I completed it was to promise myself a new camera rather than pay back my employer the cost of the class!

I think I could have a doctorate, but know you cannot start your dissertation the night before.

Now when I adopted Grace, her first big assignment in 1st grade was a science fair project. She had little English and Dad helped her conduct the experiment before I got home, but we worked together on the poster until too late the night before it was due.

Grace is like me. School is really pretty easy and we both can find millions of things we would rather do and we get good grades, so why change it when it works.

But when I added Annabel to the mix everything changed.

For her reading and writing are still very difficult but more importantly, she stresses over each and every assignment! I mean, from the second the assignment is announced, she starts stressing over getting it done. Now that's not to say she gets it done early, but it does cause her stress and if she is stressed, then I am stressed.

Shortly after the Thanksgiving break, the Texas History teacher gave them a BIG project due after they returned from Christmas break.

There are four choices of how you can portray the story of the Alamo. Annabel decided to do the edible version of the Alamo, which Grace thought sounded easy too.

For the last month I have consulted with every resource known on the many possible products you could use to build an edible Alamo. I called and emailed friends who are good at that kind of thing. My idea of something creative and edible is called dinner! I'm just not skilled at using graham crackers, gingerbread, rice krispie treats, frosting, tootsie rolls, twizzlers, to build something. These were just a few of the great suggestions I received.

So the girls have been home for two weeks and in the last two days Grace opted to do the Lexicon, rather than the edible Alamo. This includes finding a person or subject related to the Alamo for the letters A to Z!!! You also have to write a minimum of 5 lines about the meaning and how it is related to the Alamo.

For Annabel that much writing would paralyze her and she stuck to the idea of building the Alamo out of edible substances.

The project is due on Tuesday when they return from Christmas break.

We started on Saturday and worked quite a while and made pretty good progress.

Then Sunday it sat there without being touched.

I explained very carefully that I was there to help but no one seemed to need it and I was going back to work and they would have to finish it themselves and if they did not then they would be grounded and all electronics would be taken away,etc, etc. One of those speeches that mothers make when they are too tired and should simply walk away.

When I left for work this morning, Annabel was already up trying to do the written part of her assignment.

I apologized and promised to help any way I could when I got home.

Oh, I was dreading it too. We have way too many long, hard nights just trying to do homework, dinner, showers, without trying to build the Alamo and I was dreading having one on my first night back to work.

Around noon I called to check on their progress but no one was home.

That's odd. Did they get finished and now are outside playing?

I track them down at my parents house and Annabel and Grace get on the phone to tell me the great news about their grades, for Grace all A's for her semester average and for Annabel two B's and the rest A's! Wow! That deserved lots of cheering!

BUT wait! There's more!!!

Grace tells me that Annabel got out the assignment and read it again carefully.

For the first time in a month of "working" on this, she just noticed the due date is NEXT WEEK! For whatever reason, Grace had NEVER seen it! She had always gone by what Annabel told her, her sister who has trouble reading English!!!!

At that point all I could do was laugh! My kitchen table will be strewn with parts of the Alamo now until the night before it is due next week and Grace will still be trying to find words for her last 10 letters of the lexicon! I'm really sorry they have to take after me!!!

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