Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Missing More Than A Name

7:44 am…

Ahhhh…. Silence.

It did not, however, come without a price.

I feel like I’ve become the mom that yells.

Our junior high has this amazing, information-overload system that allows me to check on everything for my kids from what they bought with their lunch card to their grades for the day.

It also lets me check for missing assignments.

Yep, you guessed it.  Sean has a missing assignment.

I can make so many excuses and, I admit, I did make a few.

Now, granted, I did not check the system until yesterday so I was blissfully unaware of Sean’s academic faux paus.  It takes awhile to get into the groove of doing things.  It needs to become a habit. 

I guess it’s kind of like that point sheet that I used to get home everyday from his day program or the phone call or email that I would get from his staff.

Since it’s all on computer, it’s the eco-friendly way of letting me know exactly what my kid was doing.

However, what he was thinking on that day that he missed his assignment is quite another.

Being the good, helicopter mom that I am, I emailed the teacher straight away.

“I know exactly where the assignment is.  It’s in his binder.  I’ll remind him to hand it in.”

Yes, it’s in his binder…. Losing points by the day.

I know about it because he talked about the paper the day he did it.  It was an in-class assignment called “If I Had Never Been Born.”

Not exactly what I would call a feel-good topic and certainly one that I wouldn’t even want to think about….

But it stuck with Sean and when we went through his binder on Friday, going through papers and deciding which can stay at home and which he still needs, Sean wanted to keep that particular assignment with him.

Little did I know that he never handed it in….

How did an in-class assignment NOT get handed in?

What was Sean thinking?  What was going on in his head that day…at that moment….when the teacher probably said something akin to, “Now class, pass them forward” or “Leave them on my desk as you exit”?

Thus, a missing assignment.

Now comes the yelling part.

It’s breakfast this morning… just about an hour ago. 

“Sean, don’t forget to hand in your paper to your teacher.”

“What teacher?”

“Mrs. Pe… Mrs. Something…. I don’t know.”

“Who’s that?”

My voice got louder….

“Your teacher.”

“What class?”

Do I grab the soda now and retreat or do I wait until a suitable hour… say 8 am… before I caffeinate myself?

Thankfully, I was able to go on-line and get the information I needed.

“Sean, it’s Mrs. X.”

“Who’s that?”

Walk away… just walk away….

So three weeks into the school year and my son does not know his teacher’s name.

He can remember everything about a video game.

He can remember obscure details from a book he read six years ago about some war.

He can remember to look up whether or not the local library has the movie “Waterworld” checked back in or not.

But he does not know or remember his teacher’s name.

It’s frustrating… really frustrating.

And it feels like I have to yell more to get through whatever fog is inhibiting my son’s brain function.

It’s not mad yelling… like an argument or something… although I think I’m doing that more as well.

No, as my parents would say, it’s “loud discussion.”

I’m beginning to believe that Sean only listens to me when my voice is raised. 

I could totally cop out and write everything down for him.  But he’s 13 and in 8th grade.  He needs to start remembering these things on his own.  He needs to start taking responsibility for his own actions or inactions.

Sean got a D- on an assignment the other day and I am not going to fight it.  I am not going to make excuses for him.

He probably was in a hurry and skipped over half of the problems.

I can’t hold his hand every minute of the day.

He has to learn how to stand on his own.

So today I sent him off with instructions to finally hand in his assignment.  I yelled it to him at the kitchen table.  I yelled it to him as he left for the morning carpool.

In return, I got the typical, somewhat annoyed, “Okaaaaayyyyyyyy.”

We’ll see.  It’s up to him.  I have done what I could.

And I really don’t want to yell anymore.

I’m going to enjoy the quiet… enjoy the silence…. for a little bit longer before I wake up Ashley and start my day.

I’ll tell you about the watch… the brand new watch…and the really loud yelling another day.

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