You knew there had to be an addendum

By Mir
February 16, 2011

After the fun detailed in yesterday’s post, I couldn’t WAIT to hear how Chickadee’s essay/speech was received in class. Because I was sure she’d tanked and I wanted to savor her embarrassment, as any good parent would.

I asked how it went and she gleefully reported that “everyone’s speeches were too short” so “the teacher gave us all extensions until Thursday!” Huh. Well, I told her to get to work. She worked a good minute or two before asking for help, and I like to think the way I laughed in her face made it clear that my assistance was no longer available. We also had a discussion at dinner about scheduling and responsibility and how henceforth my help will NEVER be available the night before the assignment is due. She nodded and acted repentant and went back to work after dinner, and before bed I asked to see the finished product. “Are you going to edit?” she asked, hopefully.

“Nope, I just want to verify that it’s done,” I told her. Her face fell, and she forked over the assignment she’d spent all night “working” on. My trained editor’s eye found that… she had added a single sentence. “I thought you said it was too short?” I sputtered. “This is what you spent the night doing? Adding a single sentence?? It’s still too short which means you won’t pass!”

Well, she’s definitely honing those problem solver skills; with a huff and a flounce and a tone of voice that let me know exactly how stupid I am, she replied, “I’ll just talk slower. DUH.”

[That sound you hear in the distance is my father laughing his ass off.]


  1. Megan

    Ah, yes, the bulletproof practice of slooooowwwwwiiiiiinnnnnng down. Has she seen Calvin with his brilliant bit? “I’ll pause here so you guys can all write that down.” Next year it will be ‘spurious invented examples’ to pad things out. I used that A LOT.

  2. Debbi

    lmao!!! Haaaaa, that is the BEST answer ever.

  3. Kat

    As the mother of another teenage girl, “mwaaa-haaa-ha!” I’m laughing WITH you, you know, not AT you. I swear!

  4. Mandy

    I used to be that English teacher. I’m not sure which end of the bargain is more frustrating (my kids are still too young for that kind of assignment). I figure I have about 5 more years before I have to face these issues in the home front, rather than on the work front.

  5. vickie

    hahahahahaha – sorry but that was hysterical.

  6. Ani

    And did she say that ssslllooowwwllllyyyy? :-)

  7. Jean

    You are aware that there is rarely redemption for us beleaguered parents, right? The kid that throws it all together at the last minute will usually luck out as yours did, with an extension or opportunity to “tweak” their work/project.

    Either that or the work that is turned in that we parents know to be half-hearted and sorely lacking will be seen as better than average if not brilliant by the teacher.

    At least that’s almost always how it seems to work out for my kids. Lucky little twits. I think they get it from their father. He seems to always wind up smelling like roses after being deep in the muck, too.

  8. JennyM

    HA! That’s the verbal equivalent of printing it out in “Courier New,” right?

  9. Heather

    Facepalm :P

  10. Tracy B

    Brilliant!!!! I never would have thought of that! :o) I’ll be checking back to hear “Dads” comment.

  11. Little Bird

    How did YOU not start laughing when she said that?

  12. dad

    Yes, I have dutifully laughed my ass off…and it is not a pretty sight.

  13. pam

    Ha! dad…

  14. Redneck Mommy

    I’ll just TALK slower.

    I can’t tell you how THANKFUL I am today that it isn’t just MY children. It’s yours too.


    Here’s to our children driving us bat sh!t crazy. Cheers.

  15. Karen

    Now why didn’t I ever think of that…….

  16. navhelowife

    Nothing like trying to reinforce a lesson….and then having it fail :)

    I will say that I always wanted to know what everyone else’s child was doing – was mine just slacking or were they bustin their sit me down upons, comparatively speaking!!
    And if everyone’s assignment was not long enough, something tells me the whole class was not exactly listening to the directions!

    My pet peeve this year? Understand the budget crunch…but these entire pages shrunk down onto quarter size sheets are going to KILL me. (Nothing like a little exaggeration!)

  17. ramblin red

    I remain convinced that my daughter and chickadee are birds of a feather….we recently had a similar struggle on a writing assignment (also G&T), and it was much the same story. We are just three years behind, so I’m certain that we will have LOADs of fun later.

  18. Scottsdale Girl

    Remember the show “TAXI?” with Tony Danza and Marilu Henner? (dates self shamelessly)

    If you do, do you remember the skit with Reverend Jim taking his driver’s license written test?

    Whaaaaaat doooeeeees aaaaaaaaa yeeeeeeelllllllllllloooooooooowwwwwwwww liiiiiiiiight meeeeeeeeeean?

  19. Randi

    MWA HA HA HA HA!!! I think I used that method once upon a time…maybe…it’s all very vague to me… :)

  20. Jen

    Wow, I got the exact same response from boy#2 last night, minus the “DUH” (It was implied, surely). His class does a public speaking/speech writing program, and have to give a 3 minute prepared speech each month, and a 1 minute unprepared speech on a different day (they aren’t given a topic until it is their turn to speak). My son wrote his prepared speech last night, 2 days before he has to give it in front of the class. He performed the speech for me, and came in a full minute short. When I suggested that he needed to add some additional content to get to the 3 minute mark, with the look of disdain, he informed me that the speech was perfect, he just needed to talk slower.

    If both of them came to the same conclusion, they must be right, right? Jeez, us parents are just so stupid.

  21. MommyV

    I love this story line and all the windows your posts provide into a future with older children. My wee ones aren’t writing more than their spelling words yet, but personal responsibility is a big lesson and you remind me to start now. Maybe I should let my second grader forget his library book next week instead of reminding him to pack it….
    – Laura

  22. Michele D

    Oh Mir, I was laughing and laughing and then….then I realized that I had read this entire saga with MY voice and MY DAUGHTER’S voice doing the voices. Sigh. Aren’t we moms lucky that our girls are oh so smart?

  23. Sassy Apple

    The joy and wonder of adolescents. I had a student tell me today I never gave him a February book journal. I pointed out that today was FEBRUARY 16th, why had he waited until now to ask for one when they were to work on them EVERY DAY. He shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘I dunno.” I can’t decide if the fact that I yearn for him not to bother to make up those missing journal entries and fail makes me a bad teacher or a good one.

  24. Kristi

    She makes perfect sense, doesn’t she?

  25. Susan


  26. Vern

    Even though this was your post, I sorta thought that was my Dad. Phew.

  27. Michele

    And see this is where I just scroll down to see what dad said!

  28. Kathy

    Oh goodness! These girls of ours may be the death of us … if the boys don’t kill us first! ;)

    My own chickadee got up early and colored the pictures that went with her essays. Well … because she was coloring virtually in the dark, her African American people ended up with purple faces! OOPS!!

    I didn’t sleep well last night due to this little “event”! I’m looking forward to a better night tonight, although she’s got lots of homework because we missed two days due to the vaca. I’ll be a bit nervous, though, till the grade comes out!

    Have a lovely evening, MIr!

  29. Another Dawn

    Ah, yes. The night-before panic. Even better – the morning-of freak-out. “But I NEED bristol board – duo-tangs – index cards – WHATEVER and it’s due this morning!

    Not. My. Problem. Petal.

    Would I be a bad mother if I said I am SO glad those years are over?

  30. s

    ah, parent payback…and some day you too shall laugh your ass off at the antics and tribulations of your grandchildren!!

    My 3rd grader recently had a book report due. He did read it faithfully and then decided he would use the weekend to do the actual report. I reminded him that bedtime on Sunday would come regardless of whether it was done or not. Saturday he didn’t feel like working on it but I reminded him that our printer wasn’t working and library closed on Sunday so he’d have to handwrite it – his handwriting is atrocious so this would not be pretty. He still decided not to work on it Saturday. Sunday morning rolled around and he worked on it and then asked if he could type it and we’d go to the library to print it out – queue the sobs and unfairness of it all (of course, its my fault the printer isn’t working and the library is closed even though I had warned him!). So, he handwrote it in his atrocious handwriting. And he did his illustration and when I commented well, its a little ummm bland, he said well duh, its an iceberg so its not supposed to be colorful. He got his grade back and it was really good – 2 points off and yeah, guess what they were? Neatness and lack of detail in illustration. Ha! I was happy with his grade but he was upset about the 2 points…so I gently reminded him that ummm yeah, he didn’t spend the time writing it neatly or arranging for it to be printed and his illustration WAS lacking detail. He sheepishly admitted it. Too bad I know he will recall nothing when his next book report is due!!! Yeah, I could have done some gyrations to get him a perfect score (force him to beef up the illustration, force him to rewrite or find a way to get it printed) but I think its good for him to see HIS lack of effort DOES get reflected in his grades. That teacher is no dummy – she is my fave teacher of his so far – she SO has his number!

  31. elz

    Oh mama, you’re in trouble. That girl is too smart for her own good! I like your new resolution, no help if it is the night before an assignment is due. I’m filing that one away for the inevitable 7th grade homework meltdown.

  32. Ani

    Trying to laugh WITH you here…

    Son #1 was flabbergasted that I asked him to talk about his “completed” assignment for an in-class debate.

    The assignment? Come up with “talking points” for the debate.

    I duly sent him off to school with his half-assed work. I already went to 5th grade.

  33. Chris M.

    Hahaha! Great story, Mir, and I’m glad you create the rule “no help the day before the assigment is due” like my mother did. I have no doubt that both your daughter and you will benefit from following the rule!

  34. Catherine

    Way to grow the spine! I want to high five you. Stay strong. Natural consequences are best. It is her problem, and she will learn to manage. Praise her hard work when you observe it, not the results. I also realize that you say more here than you do to Chickadee, but make sure you are praising actual work vs. talent. You are understandably proud of your gifted nerdlets (and so are the rest of us) but make sure that they are praised for hard work. You don’t want Chickie to be in college discovering that she doesn’t have the first clue how to study, or what academic “work” is.

    (If you feel like wavering, imagine her living her in your house at age 28 wearing PJs that you paid for from the credit card that you rescued while she is eating the last granola bar that you were saving for YOUR breakfast and watching your cable television while driving a car that you are still paying for, plus insurance. And then telling you that you are mean, and it’s your fault.)

    Happy editing!

  35. Cele

    I actually recorded an essay for a student who needed to meet a minium three minute timeline. This is a senior in high school. She gave me the, “I’ll just speak slower” comment.

    Hmmm, she didn’t make the competition cut, imagine that.

  36. Lori in MN

    I was up til midnight last night putting finishing touches on the 6th grade History Day poster board exhibit thingy… the one assigned in early November, accompanied by two 10-page handouts of research instructions and project guidelines that someone dug out of a folder last week. However, I am NOT helping put together the position paper due tomorrow morning, because I am lucky enough to be working this evening until 11:30. And yes, I did my 10th grade quarter project in 4 hours the night before it was due. Karma anyone?

Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest