Getting published is a real be-yatch! Hear about my ups, downs and a few random rants in between.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Smart Kids, Curses!

When I was a kid, I could swing A's and B's with very little studying. Or, I could cram the night before a test and still hit a "B."

Thank you short-term memory!

It's saved my butt more than a few times. Not just for school. But when I pledged in college.

Oh my goodness. I would have been up shits creek without excellent short-term memory. You try singing the Greek alphabet on command to Janet Jackson's Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend then name the founders of the sorority (first and last name please...and sometimes middle) - who pledged when my grandmama was a young woman.

All this while still attending classes by day, sorority "sessions" by night.

Yes, short-term memory is my friend.

But, that's besides the point.

Because I could score good grades with little effort, I took full advantage of that. I was a good student. But once I realized I could get a "B" by studying vs. studying hard - well, I did.

My mother would always say, "Why not just study a little more and get an A." And I was like...ummm...why, what's wrong with a B?

Some will call that underachieving. I called it, being well-rounded. Because I had good grades, was in student government, ran track, was a cheerleader and held a job.

Unh, take that whoever agreed with the underachiever comment!

I laugh about my easy-going study habits. After all, I graduated high school and college. I've been successful in my career. Obviously my technique worked.

Still does.

Hell, I can't help that I don't need eight hours to get my work done everyday. Heh, heh.

But okay, it's not funny anymore. Because damn if my daughter isn't paying me back, big time on this one.

Whenever I check in on Princess A's homework, the conversations go something like this:

"Finished your homework, yet?"

"I didn't have any."

Confused pause. What the hell are they teaching kids these days that homework has been cut off the menu? Damn, Oprah was right. We are failing our kids!


"Well, I did it in class, already."

Heavy parental sigh followed by obligatory mandate to bring all work home to complete it. It is HOME work, after all. And then, for good measure, I throw in a threat. "I tell you what, that report card better not reflect all this no homework stuff."

So far, it hasn't. Grades have been all good. Honor roll every semester, so far.

But here's where she really got me.

Her last book report, which she did on Bra's and Broomsticks by Sarah Mlynowski(hey, Sarah), had some bizarre cereal box project thingie that went along with it.

I don't try to understand what on earth these type of projects have to do with the book anymore. But, she knew about the deadline and yet I saw no evidence she was working on the actual cereal box part.

I'd check in, make sure she was indeed reading the book, periodically and drop a hint like - Okay, the 19th is coming soon.

Finally, the Sunday before it's due, I'm like, "You need to work on the project, now."

She's all, Mom I have it under control. Only she didn't say those exact words. Because even at eleven she knows such a bold assertion would set me to lecturing. Still, what she said amounted to that.

And, this year, I'm all about the tough love. I refuse to force her to do a project my way. If it fails, I point out how she could have made it stronger or better. Plus, there are consquences if the grades fall i.e. cheerleading is history.

So, the night before the project is due arrives. It's like 9:00 and I see no cereal box jazzed up to look like the cover of Bra's and Broomsticks. She says, "I have all the cut-outs, I'll put them on at school. Our teacher gives us 10 minutes before class starts to finish any last minute work."

At school?

Ten minutes?!

Oh no, we are not starting this. I did that crap in high school. Used my first period independent study to get homework done. But that was HIGH school, not middle!

So I fuss her out and make her finish the project right there. Pretty much used the same old lecture about home work being called that for a reason.

She sighs one of those - my mother is such a wack job - but smartly, goes on to finish the box.

I review the work.

I'm not impressed.

It looks a little plain to me. No fancy duplicaton of the book's cover. No, interesting tongue-in-cheek references with crazy hand drawn symbols. No elaborate color graphics pulled from the internet.

Lord, kids have the internet at their fingertips to make book reports dazzle and shine. And all they use it for is myspace and IM. But that's another story.

I say nothing. Hey, let the teacher tell her it's not her best work. That's her job, anyway.

Don't you know this chick comes home from school the next day and scored a 93% on the project. She scored perfect on several components and only lost one point a piece on a few others.

I don't know whether to be proud or scared.

She got an "A," what am I gonna say? "Yes, you got a 93 but you could have gotten 100 if you had finished the box earlier."

Yeah, right. Like I'd get through that sentence with a straight face!


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