World War Homework

Feb 16 2012

My teenage daughter just told me that she DOES have homework, AFTER ALL.

Which is really SO HILARIOUS (read: not hilarious), because just one hour ago I walked in the house with a small child, a box of popsicles, my purse (complete with hairspray, gel and bobby pins because I did my hair in the work bathroom this morning – go, me!), a backpack of wet gear from preschool swim lessons, and 3.75 kid art projects because one didn’t quite make the move from the car intact.

As soon as I saw my girl child lounging in the reclining chair, eating ice cream, watching Wipeout on TV, and scrolling through her Facebook page online while texting her friends, I said, “Hey, baby. Do you have homework?”

I was very nonjudgmental and sweet.

And she said, “Don’t call me baby, Beth.”

And I said, “You’ll always be my baby. And don’t call me Beth, baby.”

And she said, “Whatever, Beth.”

And I said, “Make me brownies, baby.”

And she said, “OK, Beth.”

And we were at an impasse. Except I got brownies, so I was pretty sure I won.

Then an hour passed, and Abby just told me that she DOES have homework, AFTER ALL. And THEN I realized that she never answered my initial homework query, cleverly distracted me by calling me Beth, got an extra hour of television and computer time and got to eat brownies. 

So now I think maybe I didn’t win.


I must say, I find this situation fascinating because it’s a more verbose version of the past week with my 12-year-old son.

Monday’s Conversation:

“Ian, do you have any homework?”


Tuesday’s Conversation:

“Ian, do you have any homework?”


Wednesday’s Conversation:

“Ian, do you have any homework?”

“Just a little.”

“When is it due?”


FYI, “just a little” was a many-step report so I said, “Ian, I’m thinking your teacher gave you this homework before today.” And then I raised my eyebrows to the roof and pursed my lips in a not-happy-mama style.

And he said, “I forgot.”


I believe my son forgot his homework the same way I believe that skydiving is fun or losing weight is easy or that I will someday sleep again. In other words, I doubt it very much.

I e-mailed his teacher.

Dear Ms. Teacher,

Ian tells me he “forgot” that he was assigned the gigantic report. I think I may have a kid who’s trying to pull the wool over my eyes, but I want to be sure before I string him up by his toenails.

See, for the past several weeks, we’ve received conflicting reports. Yesterday’s story was “no homework.” Today’s story is that he got it yesterday, but “forgot.”

I told him I’d ask you when it was assigned so we have a better understanding. If I owe him an apology for doubting his story, I WILL HATE THAT, but I’ll suck it up and deliver it. If he’s being a liar-pants, though, I have a few toilets that desperately need scrubbing between homework assignments. Heh heh.

What can you tell me now that you know the depth of the trouble my child potentially faces?


And I received this reply:

Send him to the toilets! 

Ms. Teacher

That’s not all she said, you guys. She’s quite eloquent. But that was totally the relevant bit. She had me at send him.

You guys, I think it’s fair to say at this point that I’m losing World War Homework.

I’m pretty sure my problem is motivation. ‘Cause if my kids diligently study, who will make me brownies and scrub the toilets?

And also, if my 12-year-old boy child is going to remember something important, I kind of want him to remember to wear deodorant.