Homework Hell, part 2

A new day, a new approach.

3:30 pm Tuesday

Me: Ok, better get started on your homework. I don’t want a repeat of last night.

L.: I’m starving. Can I have a snack first? And maybe watch some tv while I eat it?

Me: Snack, yes. TV, no. And if your homework’s not done by 8 pm, you’re not going to the Halloween Dance on Thursday.

L.: WHY? Why do you always have to take stuff away? That’s not fair!

Me: Would you prefer I give you something as a reward rather than take something away as a consequence?

L.: YES! Yes, I would!

Me: Fine. If you finish your homework by 8 pm, your reward is that you will be allowed to go to the Halloween Dance.

L.: But that’s the same thing! Have you been reading those parenting books again???

Me: Maybe! Now go do your homework!

L.: FINE! (storms off)

Homework Hell

The Scene:  Monday night, 9:30 pm, after nearly 4 hours of reminding, suggesting, encouraging, pleading, yelling, and demanding that my 7th grader finish her homework.

Me (yelling up the stairs):  L., are you finished with your homework yet?

L.:  WHAT????

Me:  Your homework.. is it done?

L.:  (garbled)  (something something something) done.

Me:  What?

L.:  I SAID (something something something) done.

Me:  WHAT?  I can’t hear you.  I’m coming up.


I go up.  L. is on her bed, painting her nails.

Me:  Honey, it’s time for bed.

L.:  But I still have to do my math.

Me:  What??  I thought you said your homework was done.

L.:  No, I said I only have one more thing and then it’s done.

Me:  Well it sounded like you said it was done.  So if it’s not done, why are you painting your nails?

L.: Because I want them to match my neon green jeans I’m wearing tomorrow.

Me (steam coming out of my ears but trying to be patient):  Ok, but you should have done your homework first.

L.:  Mom, chill.  I’m just taking a break.  I only have math left.  Everything else is done.

Me:  Everything?  How many math problems do you have?  And did you study for your science test?

L.:  1 thru 33, but they’re easy.  And I don’t have to study.  I know everything.

Me.:  Everything, huh?

L.:  You know what I mean!

Me: Ok, your math.  Even if each problem takes only two minutes, we’re talking over an hour.  Get started!  You have to go to bed!

L.:  But I can’t get started!

Me:  Why not?

L.:  My nails are wet!


Looking for Book Recommendations for Young Readers

My 9 year old, a reluctant reader, finally found a book she likes- Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech.  She’s finished this one and has picked up Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls, which she says is funny, so we’re on a roll–she also likes all the Goosebumps books.  Can anyone recommend other books for girls this age?  What else can I get for her? Part of her homework is to read for 20 minutes a day.  She grumbles about it, but doesn’t always stop when the timer goes off.

My 10 year old loves to read and frequently falls asleep reading a book. That’s what happened here, while reading to her little sister.  Aren’t they sweet when they’re asleep?

Sunday Salon: This and That

My, my, my, what a week! Books on the Brain had it’s best day ever stat-wise on Friday (it totally blew away the last best day ever!) When my numbers had reached their all-time high by 10am, I knew something was up. Turns out Matrimony author Joshua Henkin had been interviewed about his efforts to market his novel to book clubs by Shelf Awareness, an extremely popular site in the publishing world, and included a link to his guest post on my site (Thanks, Josh!!). Not only did I see a big bump in hits, I got flooded with offers of books for review by publishers and authors. How cool is that???  I actually had to turn down a few that were not the kind of books I normally read.  Me, turning down books!!  That just never happens!  But any book with the word “pussy” in the title isn’t one I’m going to feature at my little PG rated book blog.  And I’m not much into self help stuff or mysteries, so better to have someone who IS into that sort of thing review those books, right?

We’re having another heat wave here so it’s a good day to stay inside with a fan blowing on my sweaty skin and read. Oh, I’ll probably have to take the kids down to swim at the neighbors’ house for an hour, and we have a Girl Scout meeting this afternoon too, but then I’ll hurry back into the air conditioning and get back to my book.  Currently I’m reading Songs for the Missing by Stewart O’Nan, the Barnes and Noble First Look book for June.  Just a couple weeks ago I read O’Nan’s Last Night at the Lobster in preparation for this book (loved it!), but I must say that was kind of pointless- the two books are nothing alike in style, tone, rhythm, subject, themes, etc.  If I didn’t know I would never have guessed they were by the same author.  Not that I’m not enjoying Songs for the Missing- I am- a lot.  It’s just completely different.

I’m not the type of reader who can have 4 different books going at once.  I. just. can’t.  I’m a monogamous reader with very few exceptions (I am soooo not a book slut!)  And, unlike Booking Mama, I can’t spend 4 hours a day reading.  So when I received Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe by Jennie Shortridge this week, I passed it to a friend in my book club who was all too happy to read it before me.  She said so far she really likes it, and I’m not at all surprised.  Jennie Shortridge was the first author our book club ever did an author chat with, when we discussed her novel Eating Heaven last year (an excellent choice for a book club, by the way!) She is so warm and fun and we had a great time with her.  I’m excited to read Love and Biology after my book club bud finishes it.

With my TBR pile teetering and listing to one side, and commitments to review books piling up, I decided to pass along a few other books to another member of my book club, who agreed to review them for Books on the Brain .  They include Freestyle by Linda Nieves-Powell, A Curious Earth by Gerard Woodward, and The Space Between Before and After by Jean Reynolds-Page.  I look forward to reading them when she’s done.

I’ve been getting slightly more sucked in to Library Thing’s Early Reviewers message boards. They have a Tuesday Thingers group that I may start participating in which, if I understand it correctly, is just an excuse to post book blather on Tuesdays and then go visit all the other Thingers and read their book blather.  At least I think that’s how it works.

What else?  Hmmm.  Well my daughter finished a big 5th grade project yesterday that’s due on Wednesday. For once I convinced her she didn’t have to wait until the VERY LAST MINUTE to get her homework done (shock!)  Her written report and display on “Richard Nixon: A Man of Many Firsts” turned out great and we she better get an A on it!  I’m kidding.  She did it all by herself, which is completely apparent.  I resisted my perfectionist tendencies to “fix” things that were glued on slightly crooked.  I bit my critical tongue when I saw that she wanted to use the picture of Nixon and Elvis as the largest picture and the centerpiece of her display.  It’s her work and she did a great job.  The kids’ school has their Open House on Thursday so there’s been a big push to do projects and artsy stuff in the last couple of weeks.  They do very few projects and very little art during the year (damn budget cuts!) and then BAM it hits us all at once.  It’s not my thing but I do my best to help my kids.  It’s just sad when you go to Open House and it’s obvious there’s no way in HELL the 10 year old with the beaming engineer dad made the to-scale model of the White House and the Pentagon out of sugar cubes and toothpicks, or the 9 year old whose mom is a scientist was able to make a working model of a geothermal power plant with real steam all by his wittle self.  Well, L.’s project is nowhere near professionally done, but it’s her work.  She’s proud of it and I hope her teacher will see the effort that was put into it.

So.. what are you reading today?  Leave a note and let me know!

Happy Sunday!