I have an awesome daughter. She's smart, she's funny, she's beautiful, she's got the world by the short and curlys...and she's in 5th grade. So surely I can't chald up her weepiness for no apparent reason and her quick to snap someone's head off retorts to hormones yes. Right?
She is in the ‘Talent Development’ program at her school. It’s like what most people call ‘Academically Gifted’ and feeds into the nationally recognized International Baccalaureate program in Jr. High and High School. She participates in extra-curricular activites and generally kicks ass all the way around. I had to put that plug in so you would all know how proud I really am of her.
However, I find myself increasingly dismayed when I have conversations with her. Yesterday, for example, I picked her up from her extra-curricular activity and was simply inquiring about what they did and talked about and she muttered something unintelligible so I asked instead how her day was. And she turns to me, glaring and says “I SAID I don’t want to talk about it! I have a ton of homework and my teacher gave us assigned seats today! And I didn’t even DO anything wrong!” After reminding her that I didn’t do it either and to mind her tone with me, she apologized and looked slightly weepy. Apparently the idea of corporate punishment and rewards is not something that she is okay with.
She is usually quite responsible to get her homework done....with only slight prodding from me. Every day after she completes her work she tells me so and I say, without fail, “It’s ALL done?” and she says “yes, mama”. Okay, bril. This morning I was going through her planner and folders making sure that I had signed everything I was supposed to send back to school and found unfinished assignments. When I inquired, gently - because being around her is like walking on eggshells lately, why she told me she had completed it and how long ago it was due, she couldn’t remember. *sigh* Her father and I are pretty strict about homework and it getting completed, so I took a deep breath and punted the conversation over to her father.
When he inquired as to what was up, her eyes welled up with huge tears and started spilling over and running down her face. You would think we’d been browbeating her for hours. And darling husband, precious, protective dad, wraps his arms around her and says “Hey, where is all this coming from?” and her answer....”This morning....h-h-h-aaasss just b-b-b-been so HARD!” At this point he and I make eye contact and shrug. This morning has been no different from any other getting ready for school and we’re now a mere 2 minutes from the bus arriving. So doting daddy helped her dry her tears and told her to shake it off and have a good day. I guess we’ll broach the homework subject again this afternoon.
The question that I keep asking myself is can she really not help it, or has she at the ripe old age of 10 learned to manipulate us so easily? I don’t recall everything being a crisis in my world when I was 10. Has everything changed so dramatically since then?
And for those of you wondering...yep...still on break. Not vodka this time. Just coffee.