Homework Happy Hour
I used to catch snippets of "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" when my mom used to visit. She was addicted to GSN, the game show network. I used to think, "I have a MA in Asian Studies and have quite the extensive education, I'd kick ass on that show." But then, #1 became a fourth grader and between him and my aspy third grader, I wondered how I got through elementary school at all. Did they even teach the same crap they are teaching now, way back then? I don't think so. I remember my desk at school chock full of worksheets I never completed and somehow I managed to get away with it and graduate elementary school. I wondered, if I were going through school now, would I make it through? I am grateful that I don't have to answer that question. Though based on my inability to help with homework some days, I tend to think that I wouldn't.
Trying to navigate three children through homework makes you question who really invented happy hour. The witching hour is between four and six in the afternoon. Grab the vodka and red bull and press "go". It is the time you are trying to get dinner ready and the homework done because when the kids get out of school, the clock starts ticking down to bedtime. (Bedtime=when mommy finally gets a freaking break.) Of course, after a full day at school, they are fried and no matter how you try to package it, homework sucks no matter when you try to get it done. "Oh mommy, I love homework!", said no one ever.
The minute you open your kid's homework folder, the general reaction is "fuck?!? Really. That will take all of my energy and time plus, I may have to Wikipedia it because I have no fucking clue what it is, what I'm supposed to do with it, or how to do it.
So between managing the meltdowns that come with making kids do homework and getting #3 to read, (#3 is in Kindergarten and he just has to read 15 minutes a night. Sounds easy? Wrong. Some days I could promise that kid a Maserati, and the way he screams I swear he is saying "F-U" in some martian sound, that challenges the sound barrier. But last night, Hershey hugs and some left over holiday candy did the trick. Yes, I sugared up my kid to get production. It's called incentives. Got a problem with that?) I also have to deal with the twins, whose specialty at this point, is input and output. They eat all day long, and then they call me with the utmost urgency because they have to hold court on the potty. MOMMY, I HAVE TO GO PEE-PEES." And in toddler language it means, "drop everything and be my potty pal, RIGHT NOW" And the second I get up from the homework table to help the girls, the boys bolt to the far corners of the house or yard. They don't know what "independent work" is.
The challenge most days is after I have put the other four to bed and I finally get back to the table to finish the homework with #1 , I am 98% fried and twitching. Unfortunately, it is usually the time that he is most engaging. Talk about bad timing. He was reading a chapter about the first moon walk and he went into a quasi-scripted scene from Wall-E and then asked if the axiom greeted the astronauts when they landed on the moon. But the thing was, his was joking with me. His face was poised in amusement and he was just waiting for me to respond and when I tried to bring him back to task, he tried to push further and talk about Eve and if she greeted the astronauts. He was engaging in quasi-typical behavior, but I was so fried, that I laughed and begged him to get back to task before I lost my mind completely.
The best day of the week for me is Friday. Not because it is the end of the work week, my work week continues regardless of the day, it is because there is no homework. They come home from school and it is free time. I don't have to get three kids through homework or meltdowns. I just have to make sure the beer is cold, the Wii controllers are charged and the pizza is ordered. Now that, sound like a happy hour I could deal with every day.