Sunday, 12 August 2012

Penance for my sins

Penance for my sins
12 August 2012

So, on occasion I’ve been a bad girl.  To get out of trouble I’ve lied and bent the truth a bit.  I most definitely lie about my weight – mainly to myself.  In my wild youth I smoked (only cigarettes, mind you) and I drank socially (big deal).  I skipped the odd class at varsity and called in a sickie at work once or twice – you know, a terrible bout of ‘stomach flu’ (though I didn’t do that much – I’ve been cursed with a conscience – it’s my mom’s fault).  But, in my defence, none of my sins have been all that huge, at least not in my opinion.   I have not killed – I have had a few close calls with my kids I admit, but I have managed to restrain myself.  I have not coveted after my neighbour’s possessions – well there was that time……..   I have not committed adultery – does dreaming about Brad Pitt even count?   I have not stolen – okay so the odd pen here and there from work, but not so much, seeing as I’ve been my own boss for nearly 15 years now.  I try to rest on the Sabbath, really I do, but my family insists that I need to feed them, so I have to cook.  So basically, I am not all that bad.  Now I ask you with tears in my eyes:  What have I done to deserve this???

Projects.  Orals.  Plays.  Why?  Why??  Why???  Is there anything on this earth, more tedious than children’s school projects?  At 8 years old, Cole needs my help with an oral that he has to prepare for Wednesday.  Fair enough, but it is a little bit like pulling teeth at times as it’s a challenge getting him to focus.  At 10 years old, Amber is getting more and more independent.  But she needs to rehearse a little play that she and 5 other friends had to write.  They’re performing it at school on Tuesday and there have been props involved and the whole toot.  So, it’s been a bit of photocopying and coordinating.  What happened to simple old orals?  And at 14 years old, Luke should be completely independent.  But here’s the problem.  His one project has to be done in Afrikaans – enough said.  It is particularly painful to watch and I have to try and restrain myself from helping out.  Another project is for Geography, which should be easy enough, except that the project is about an on-going development project in South Africa, and there is just not enough info available and what there is, is conflicting.  Then there’s another History project which is due on Tuesday.  A model of a pulley system which has to be built for the following week and so it goes on and on and on.  Never-bloody-ending.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Luke does most of the stuff himself.  But he needs what feels like constant gentle probing.  I’ve taken to asking him when he’s completed his project, if he’s sure he’s done everything that was required of him.  Did he follow all the instructions to the letter?  You would simply not believe the doff mistakes that get made.  Like not putting his name on his project.  Or another recurring theme – omitting the bibliography.  And let’s not forget that old chestnut – the index.  Basic, basic, basic mistakes.  And will I ever forget the time when he was in Grade 7, I think it was.  He had to do a project on shifting geographical patterns and systems or some such thing.  And my beloved boy chose Mount Etna.  Well, marvellous idea I thought.  He’s always had a bit of a thing with volcanoes, so it was sure to go well.  He insisted on doing all of his own research and declined my generous offer to look through his completed project before handing it in.  Much was his surprise (not mine) when he got a shocking mark for his project.  What was the cause you might ask?  Well, he did his entire project about “Mount Enta”.  Yip, “Mount Enta”.  An as yet undiscovered volcano.  I mean, seriously!!!  Never mind the cover page all neatly done with a huge volcano drawing and the huge "Mount Enta” title, I swear he used the words “Mount Enta” about 735 times!!!

Can’t I just rather choose my own punishment?  If so, I think I’d select sticking a finger into a live electrical socket.  Or perhaps a 5 hour root canal treatment at a butcher dentist.  No wait – go big or go home, I’ve got it:  paper cuts between the webbing of my fingers and toes.  Bring it on…

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