So one of the things we do first thing in the morning (and I know how this is going to look but hey it be not a blog if it be bloodless which is to say well this is just who we are) when there’s no school is………. math. <Sheepish>
If you listen hard enough you will hear the sound of a thousand bovine voices faintly breaking out in song. That shadow passing overhead belongs to a porker.
Has everyone finished revising their opinions so they can call me Insane, Over-competitive Mum? Done?
Now, the reason Rockstar does the vast majority of anything he might possibly find “hard work” the moment he is awake is because when he wakes, he is often desperate to do anything, ANYTHING, other than be asleep. Clean my room? Done! Finish up a couple modules of more-difficult math? Sure! If I Get To Do Them Right Now Instead Of Go Back To Sleep. (And btw it’s all his school online math, nothing else..) I thought it would be less painful than interrupting a Mario Bros Youtube-fest to make him do math <snort>
As in Ok I Guess He Does Have To Put Some Time In, Which Is The Easiest To Get Him To Do? And is it weird that my next thought is After all, for every reward is a corresponding risk you cannot simply disappear away, but you are infinitely able to change the form that risk takes, be it forex, credit, equity, commodity…….
FINE. What’s a school work equivalent? For every reward is a corresponding amount of time you have to put in in order to reap the benefits, but you are always free to change the timing to when you are most motivated/ when you least perceive it as a chore, thereby making it the most pleasant experience possible? Math when you’d rather do anything other than be asleep doesn’t feel the same as math when you think you can be Youtubing or playing with Legos.
Just til the end of this month however, the beautiful outdoor pool directly below where we live is open early morning (because some of the other pools in the development, all significantly further away anyway, are being renovated) and so when Rockstar was home for a few days I had him join the baby for her morning splash-about. This in itself wasn’t that big a mistake, I could still wrangle a promise to make it up right after the swim (and he kept to it every time) – the problem was one day I then wanted to make a Bumps to Babes run and of course Rockstar comes with, because there is a cafe nearby that serves his favorite sandwiches.
Rockstars In Da Outdoor Pool (This one’s heated – Rockstar is in the thermal suit because he also jumps in the non-heated ones; it was very windy that day and Little Miss was the only baby/ toddler out)
Yes Rockstar looks happy. But right after this pic was taken he let go and she went splat in the unheated water which was when I moved the circus to the jacuzzi
And so for one of the only times ever, Rockstar had his regular math work hanging over his head all the way til….. almost dinner time. And in case I somehow manage to forget the pain – WE ARE SO NOT DOING THIS AGAIN. By the end of the day, Rockstar is used to zoning out with a giant dinner and (most recently) mindless video footage older kids upload of themselves playing various video games.
Somewhere at the back of my obsessive compulsive mind is the thought Rockstar will not grow up to someday have a school exam between 6-8pm. So I am very umm, accommodating of his “mindless free time” at night when he’s done with whatever he needs to do for the day. Have also convinced him that it’s a lot less frustrating to watch someone else’s game and mistakes rather than play his own games – so he has just one arcade fix of about 20 mins a week at our development clubhouse. On our previous schedule I had us arrive 20 minutes before they kick everyone out to clean the place, but that’s no longer doable with his current timing, so yes he has tried refusing to leave before (to which I tell him if I have problems leaving, next time I will just not bring him at all…)
Doing his holiday “math quota” at the end of the day is r-eee-aaaaallll-y ss-llll-oooooo-www going (ay, I have girlfriends in other catchment areas who put in a mandatory 30 minutes after school every single day to practice math and that’s when they don’t do Kumon. Me, some time back I gratefully noticed Rockstar fairly regularly has these “speed rounds” coming in to school, whereby even during the course of unpacking their school bags and settling down to a lesson the kids will have math sheets where they run through as many sums as they can in the space before the lesson proper starts; so I figured he got in good practice on schooldays, and then I just concentrate on “maintenance” on non-schooldays. Me the maintenance crew – he only does stuff when there’s no school…) At 10pm Rockstar has neither finished eating, nor has he really gotten much work done. By now he’s been dragging his feet for several hours.
Glancing at the screen I see he is on the last 10 questions to completing the module. Except I’m getting puppy dog eyes and I Can’t Do This Anymores. As a rule I hate giving up on anything, but well it’s 10pm.
“Just finish this one module (he usually does 3-5, which isn’t that much because some are really easy, like adding 0 or 1, some times he only does 1 if it’s a hard one) and you don’t have to do anymore.” Doesn’t work. Still getting kicked puppy look.
“Ok, instead of 10 more questions, how about 5 more.” Nope, still nothing.
“Sigh. One more? Just one more question?” (Just my thing, I have this idea it’s that much harder to resume if you get into the habit of quitting right when you decide it’s too tough. So I just wanted him to get beyond where he’d formed said impression of it being too tough, and he could stop directly after say, because it’s late and past his bedtime.)
Rockstar throws his head back and bawls loudly. Then he chokes on the food that has been in his mouth for like, forever, and throws up a bit.
“S-top…. IT.” Way don’t feel as confident as I sound – on one hand I’m wondering if I’m pushing too hard, on the other….. how come he only started bawling after I cut his 10 questions down to just the one question? Did he decide only after I cut the questions that he should try and push his luck?
Also, the baby is up way too late – Rockstar had been interrupting my putting her down every now and again to complain about being unable to do his schoolwork.
While I’m trying to decide whether to cave, I bring the baby into her room (again!!) and pray for whether to cave or not (<sheepish> I kid you not ok). Outside, another howl from Rockstar, and then another retch. Yet….. I don’t get the impression he’s doing something particularly hard. He wasn’t on that hard a module, I’ve seen him do much harder ones. Maybe it’s just because he’s tired?
“If you’re really that tired, just finish eating and get to bed. But you didn’t do your work as agreed, so no Youtubes -”
“I just want…. to…. SLEEP!!” Fine. Go. Past your bedtime anyway. Just don’t open the baby room door anymore, the baby has to get to sleep too.
I finish settling the baby and walk back into the other room where Rockstar is now in bed. “<conversationally> Actually……. I still want to do that question.”
Is he freaking kidding me?? “Are you kidding me?? After that Armageddon in the living room?? (Rockstar laughs sheepishly and nods) “You sure?? I don’t want to see that again, it was horrifying!”
Rockstar: I want to do it, I do.
Me: Really? Mummy’s tired. Cannot take anymore nonsense if you decide to go nuts. At least you will not be screaming if you are asleep.
Rockstar’s already got my laptop back out. This time he manages to get the question done. And the next. And then with me sitting next to him he’s done all 10 and finished the module. I ask if he wants Youtube, and let him watch for about 20 minutes, after which he announces he’s finished the video, shuts the laptop again and is asleep almost before his head hits the pillow. By then it’s 11pm.
The next morning…
Rockstar: Mum. <like he’s announcing something important> I think next time I better finish my work early. It’s very hard to do it when I’m tired.
Me: Hah you think? My sensible, responsible child turned into a screaming, vomiting monster last night.
Rockstar: Hee Hee Hee Tell Daddy! Tell Daddy! It’s funny!
ps: Quite happy Rockstar had not considered not putting the time in an option – only WHEN, whether early in the day or late…
pps: Note to self – I need to ask Rockstar sometime whether he decided to throw his head back and bawl because he saw me cave on the 10 questions.
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