parens binubus

more than you want to know about a law school graduate/bar examinee who is also raising two children and doing her best at being a partner to her love.

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  • Tuesday, March 06, 2007
    American Idol - the family rundown
    If you care not for a story about disciplining a 10 year old, and only want my family's thoughts on American Eyeball (as we tend to call it around here, in the Home of Changing Names), scroll down to below the line.

    This year is the first time we're watching American Idol, as I think I've mentioned before. It is also the first time I've ever allowed the girls to watch television during the week.


    E has not been having the easiest time getting/staying organized in school this year. She forgets things a lot, and loses track of assignments occasionally. I have been doing my best to remind her consistently - and to walk her through the thinking process when I pick her up from school. When that was still proving to be inadequate, I pulled out the threats.

    Last Thursday I told her that she had to think through whether she had all her stuff. She had forgotten something on Wednesday, but saved herself by calling a "homework buddy" - on Thursday, however, I told her, while standing in the school, that she had to think very carefully through her assignments, and be *certain* that she had everything she needed.

    She thought for about 2 milliseconds, and said, "I definitely have everything." I said to her, "E, you better be sure, because if we get home, and you do not have something you need, there will be no television tonight -- and calling someone will not save you. I want you to have everything you need." She said, "Mom, I do."

    We went home. She "did her homework." We watched American Idol. It ended. She and her sister goofed off in their room for about 30 minutes. At 9:30, I went into her room and saw her writing something - "what are you doing?" She tells me she had left an assignment at after-school care - she forgot to pack it up in her bag.

    I was pissed off. I had been very clear with her - I walked her through the situation, and she assured me. Not only that, but she didn't mention that she didn't have the sheet until after the show was over. Which I believed was on purpose.

    It gets worse.

    After I bitched at her for a minute, I went to do the dishes, and I thought about the situation -- if she left this paper at her after-school program, I would have found it in her box. They always clear the tables after homework time (early in the afternoon), and put the kids' homework in their boxes. I had definitely checked her box that day, and I remembered, because there was some weird home-made slime in it (in a cup), and I was a little perplexed by it. There were no papers.

    So I went in and accused her of lying (which she is a) horrible at, and b) not prone to do) - that she hadn't done the homework at all. When I explained my reasoning, she seemed stunned, but went to her notebook and leafed through the pages, and FOUND the assignment.

    The assignment had been to write 5 sentences with prepositional phrases and underline the prepositional phrases.

    Her piece of paper (regular lined notebook paper)?

    It had numbers 1 to 5 written down, and 3 sentences had been written in #s 1-3. The first one was all crossed out, and messy as HELL. The other 2 had highlighter on parts of them and also looked like crap. Numbers 4 and 5 were utterly blank. The entire thing was a MESS. So while I was glad to see she hadn't lied (or did she? she had said she did the homework - this was not done at all), I was very upset at what a piece of crap the work was.

    Betraying my own lack of attention-paying in school (but trying to disguise it in some weird form of the Socratic method), I said, "E, what is a prepositional phrase?" She started to cry, "I don't know! That's why I didn't finish, I was confused!" As if it made everything all better. Ha! Those crying games do not work with me! I then shifted the lecture to a new theme: why it's important to pay attention in class, and not write notes and talk to friends and pick your nose.

    I made her look it up on the internet, and then I made her re-do the homework.

    And then I told her -- No American Idol on Tuesday (the next time it was on). Oh, she was crushed. She cried. A lot. She argued and argued that I was being unjust, that I had said that she couldn't watch if, and only if, she didn't bring everything home, and the paper WAS home. I told her she was absolutely full of shit.

    no, I didn't, at least not in those words. Because even when I say I'm "yelling" at her, I mean that I am respectfully disciplining her. I told her that I had three issues with her behavior: dishonesty, disorganization, and disobedience. And that if she continued to argue about her well-deserved punishment, she would not watch on Wednesday or Thursday, either.

    She stopped crying. She went to sleep.

    Today is Tuesday. E has been good, and been doing better with things, and I didn't like this lingering punishment. But yet, I wasn't willing to let it go. I reminded her this evening while we were on the way to cello practice, and she sort of cut me off with, "I know, Mom, I remembered." I reminded her that arguing or complaining would extend the punishment, and she said okay.

    She went to her room at 7:55. She did not say a word about it - she just went. She left her room once to use the bathroom, but then returned without even trying to sneak a peek at the television. She shut her door, and put on music in her room. I went in to check on her, and she was keeping herself busy, and was not upset or grumbling or having an attitude in any way.

    And I was so happy! So happy that I stuck with the punishment. I had told Beloved right before the show stopped that she'd been so good with the reminder, and with going into her room that I was tempted to give her a get out of jail free card, and he said, "no, I don't think you should" - and I really did agree. I felt I had to follow through with this.

    I think that she was so grown up about it, and acted so mature (for her), that I'm glad she had the opportunity to show us that she could behave that way. We both told her that we were very impressed with the way she handled the situation, and I think she was proud of herself.

    And I feel like a good mom, to a good kid. A kid who now knows what prepositional phrases are. So do I, because I had to check the homework, and used google to do it. What did parents do before the internet? Surely they didn't remember back to 5th grade?


    Tonight, we're voting for Blake (J especially loves him, but we all agree), Chris Sligh (he's E's fave), Brandon and Sundance.

    I don't know what it is about him - but I have a thing for Sundance. Even when he does poorly (often), I just want him to have another chance. I felt the same way about Brandon last week, but this week, I thought he did great, even though the judges didn't like him.

    My girls both like Sunjaya, and I do not get it. Because I think he stinks. This is the first week that J didn't insist on him being one of her votes when she was forced to narrow it down from her 17 choices. I believe that it is the young girl voters who are keeping him in. More so than his hair.

    I also strongly dislike Jared. I think he puts on his "smoldering" face way too often, and it bugs the shit out of me. I don't think he's talented, even.

    I think that Chris Richardson is talented, but he isn't my style, and I'm not voting for him.

    I have liked Phil Stacey almost every week - but not this week. And I can't pick everyone, and he is gone from my list.

    I am sick of this phase, though. It's my first year watching the show, so I don't know what comes next - but to me, this does feel like Karaoke. The boys I liked best were the ones who sang songs I wasn't familiar with, because I wasn't comparing them to the original singers.

    I better hurry up and call! The family will be mad at me if I drop the ball.

    Labels: ,

    posted by Zuska @ 9:30 PM  
    • At Thursday, March 08, 2007 2:43:00 PM, Blogger Butterflyfish said…

      I tivo idol and watch two hours in about 40 minutes... can't stand all the "I love my grandma" stuff.

      I love Chris, cannot stand Sunjaya, and even when Sundance MURDERS one of my favorite songs from high school (Jeremy), I still want to give him another chance too.

      Do you watch the girls too?

    • At Thursday, March 08, 2007 2:43:00 PM, Blogger Butterflyfish said…

      I tivo idol and watch two hours in about 40 minutes... can't stand all the "I love my grandma" stuff.

      I love Chris, cannot stand Sunjaya, and even when Sundance MURDERS one of my favorite songs from high school (Jeremy), I still want to give him another chance too.

      Do you watch the girls too?

    • At Thursday, March 08, 2007 5:04:00 PM, Blogger Zuska said…

      We do watch the girls, too, I just find myself caring less about them.

      Last night, we allowed each of us to pick 4 people, and then voted for the top 4 within our family. Lakisha, Melinda and Gina were picked by all of us. The only ones who didn't get even one vote were Antonella (a first in our house) and Haley. Our 4th vote went to Stephanie.

    • At Thursday, March 08, 2007 5:06:00 PM, Blogger Zuska said…

      Also, we are way behind the times. We don't have TIVO. We don't have any more than basic cable, which is $10/mo, and in order to make TIVO worth it, we'd have to upgrade, and the next step is $60, and we just don't watch enough t.v. (and want to watch even less) to justify that. We have friends who also TIVO the show, and watch in much less time.

      But then you don't get to VOTE.

    • At Saturday, March 10, 2007 7:03:00 PM, Blogger Housewife said…


      Because I could give a rat's ass about American Idol.

      You are my Idol.

      It is SO hard to be consistent with the discipline and SO important.

      Yes Mom, you are good at this.

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