Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Unwritten Line Item.

So this week we are coming back into line with how our days SHOULD be.  We have a plan.  My schedule is a beautiful thing and it would work PERFECTLY if there weren't so many unwritten line items on it.


My mom used to tell a story about my dad.  They were planning on going somewhere.  She had gotten up on time, gotten the kids ready, fed us, gotten herself ready, gotten everybody in the car knowing that they were running late.  After a few minutes, she went inside to check on him and found my father sorting their record collection, still in his socks.  He had found an unwritten line item.

These unwritten line items ARE any schedule.  The things that you do that add time and complexity to the list of items that you are trying to check off. 

As we have been working through the list, each of my kids has found an unwritten line item to completely alter her schedule for the rest of the day.  (no names are being used, because, well, public shaming is controversial...the important thing is that THEY'LL know who they are)

Exhibit A.

This child was to be the first up and into the shower for several reasons.  When she was out of the shower, she was to sing out "NEXT KID, I'm out of the shower" as she walked past on her way to her room.  Then she was to get dressed, make her bed and come out all golden haired and dewy eyed...and do my bidding.

Instead, she found an unwritten line item.

She got up first...CHECK.  She went into the bathroom and looked at herself in the mirror...OKAY.  She got into and out of the shower...CHECK.  She walked out of the bathroom...stood in the doorway...rang a REALLY loud bell...and said, "NEXT KID, GET INTO THE SHOWER RIGHT NOW!"   Apparently, she said it 3,456 times before I became involved in the situation.

Exhibit B

This child was the planned person to empty the dishwasher.  It was on her list.  As I headed to the shower, I reminded her.  She was headed TO the dishwasher when I left the room.  What happened next is hard to know for sure.  All I am certain of is that by the time I came out to check after my shower, there was an altercation going on and the dishwasher was standing open. 

A sister had foisted an unwritten line item onto her list.

The hazy details are as follows.  She was going to unload the dishwasher when a SISTER played HER song on the piano.  She felt compelled to police the music coming from the other room and correct this good-for-nothing sister about her wretched behavior...the dishwasher would HAVE to wait.

Exhibit C

This child was to be doing two pages of well understood math that she had previously stated was so easy she shouldn't have to waste time with it.  When she was finished with the incredibly easy math, she was to go on to the rest of her well understood and planned school day. I spoke to this child.  I made sure that she had all her supplies and no questions.  I then sent her to her working room...and commenced teaching her other sisters for the couple of hours until lunch.

But she found this unwritten line item.  Truth be told, she found a FEW.

Firstly, this math was VERY boring and she HAD brought her iPod into the room, so listening to her music was needed to help her even accomplish BREATHING while she was dragging through these two pages. Then this song came on that she really liked, so she wanted to learn the words while she was doing her math so she switched to you-tube to find a lyrics video so that she could accomplish that goal.  And then she focused, I tell you.

By the time I got involved almost 2 hours later, she was singing SO loudly that I had to shush her so that I could carry on with what I was teaching.  As I opened the door, I realized that it wasn't just the song that was the unwritten line item...or even the words...but an completely choreographed number in full costume...while her math lay open, UNMARRED BY PENCIL, on her desk.

IN FULL COSTUME, dear readers.  I'm just going to let that one sink in.

I've decided that more than half of dealing with kids in any capacity, be it parenting, teaching, sports or whatever, is their ability to consider options far outside of our own ADULT imagination.  I get in MORE trouble assuming that they are going to behave in a way that I've laid out...or even in a way that they have always acted in the past.

I often find myself completely GOBSMACKED by their audacity, and if I'm honest, irritated...which tends to add a few unwritten line items of my own.

I guess that's why starting slowly on any schedule you expect to follow with any regularity with kids is so important.  It gives you the opportunity to find those unwritten line items. 

Well, and to come to grips with the fact that no matter how intelligent you are and how well thought out your master are up against small people with their OWN counter-agendas...who are wiley-er, smarter and let's face it, FAR more well-rested than you are. 

See ya around.

1 comment:

kt said...

Good one! Funny girl. ;-)