Whoops! I really didn’t mean to leave a depressing post up here and then disappear, it’s just that I seem to have misplaced my Wednesday, somehow. Has anyone seen it? I’d sort of like it back. If it’s not too much trouble.
My week has largely been eaten up by one of the most terrifying beasts out there, one so huge, so imposing, that many dare not utter its name. I laugh in the face of danger, though (okay, who am I kidding—more like I yell in the face of danger), so I shall speak it loud and clear: We have been under attack from the dreaded Science Fair Project.
It was due today, and yes, OF COURSE, the assignment came home in November, and OF COURSE, it was not handled and completed in a timely manner. Because that would’ve made sense. And kept my head from exploding. And also I have no idea how to handle things like this, apparently, because I’m pretty sure the way my eye ends up twitching by deadline is NOT recommended by professionals.
Without commenting on the specifics of what happened, I will merely say that Chickadee made the decision that she wanted to do this project over the holiday break with her dad. And we all thought that was a splendid idea; they’d have a week together and it would be a good bonding experience.
And we wouldn’t have to deal with it. Score!
Except that when we got home from break she wasn’t finished. Certain segments of the project hadn’t even been started, in fact; and that meant she had less than a week to pull it all together while Otto and I bit our tongues so hard it’s a wonder we were able to say anything at all.
Not that we COULD say anything, anyway, without one of the following things happening:
1) Chickadee bursting into tears,
2) Chickadee screaming at us that
a) we didn’t UNDERSTAND,
b) it wasn’t her fault,
c) we weren’t helping her enough,
d) she was sick of being told what to do,
e) she didn’t care, anyway,
f) she was going to fail her project.
So THAT was fun.
Being the excellent mother that I am, I greeted these reactions in any of the following ways:
1) Continuing to be patient and helpful,
2) Telling her I was done being abused and she could finish on her own,
3) Yelling back.
I’m including the first item because it did happen, a couple of times, but the latter two happened a lot more often, I admit. The entire process was completely CRAZYMAKING.
Having to deal with this project while also dealing with being worried and confused about her friend wasn’t a great combination, of course. I tried to be more patient, knowing that she’s having a hard time, but there’s a limit to my patience. (It turns out that it runs right up until the point where a certain child uses up a glue stick and starts plastering her display with scotch tape with all the precision of an epileptic chimp, by the way. You’re welcome.)
We worked on it yesterday from when she got home from school until she went to bed. At one point I was here in the office on my computer and she was in the kitchen on her computer, after a particularly heated exchange. She told me she was going to send me her conclusion for me to print out. And then I received the following in my inbox:
from: Chickadee Lastname
date: Wed, Jan 7, 2009 at 5:55 PM
subject: Re: conclusion
I’m sorry for yelling at you this morning and a couple of minutes ago. I am just really frustrated and don’t understand what you are telling me to do.
The conclusion was attached, and I thanked her for the apology, explained what we’d just been talking about, and printed out what she needed.
Late last night she got her display board assembled, only to discover that she’d forgotten to put together any charts or graphs, and as a result she basically had a big blank spot in the center that should’ve been filled with, you know, actual DATA. It had been a VERY LONG DAY and Otto and I made the decision to tell her that we were sorry, but it was late and she was out of time and she’d simply have to make do. She hung her head and put her supplies away and went up to bed.
This morning I got up at 6:00, as I do, and stumbled into the office to check my email.
I found the following:
from: Chickadee Lastname
date: Thu, Jan 8, 2009 at 5:18 AM
subject: another graph
I copied the spread sheet onto a word document and last night I was measuring space with sheets of paper, and there is enough room to fit these two pages on. Please print them for me so that I can attach them before I have to go to school. This will all be over by tonight.
I think this one was a nicer apology than the first, actually, because it’s her way of saying that she realizes she’s driving me to an early grave and she’s sort of sorry about that. (Not sorry enough to stop, mind you, but sorry enough to feel a small pang of regret that she might have to learn how to use the printer herself. Whatever.)
So I printed it out, and at the eleventh hour (or maybe just while her cereal sat on the kitchen table growing soggy) she finished up her display. I made a point of telling her before she left for school that while I wasn’t very happy about the way either of us had handled this project, I was really proud of her for not giving up, and for taking the initiative to get up early and fix it.
She also left a note for Nightingale this morning, on her Caring Bridge site, signing it “Your friend, Chickadee” rather than “From, Chickadee Lastname.”
You know, I think this kiddo of mine is gonna be alright.
Happy Love Thursday, everyone. May your love find its way in the written word, somehow, even when your mouth can’t seem to manage it.