Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Politics of Childhood

Yesterday while I was waiting for my son to get out of school, I was chatting with one of my daughter's friend's mom. We usually talk in the afternoons but yesterday she said she needed to talk to me about a situation.

We went outside and she told me that my daughter and another little girl were being bratty at her daughter's birtday party. I have no illusions about my child and believe her, particularly when Diva is around this other girl.

Problem is, this party happened well before Christmas. So she's been stewing for over a month about it. She said she guess she should have said something sooner (Ya THINK?)but she wasn't sure what to do.

I told her she should have handled it at the party. Or mentioned it when I picked up my kid. I'm not sure what she thinks I should do, but its a little late now. Kids are like dogs, they need to be called to the carpet as soon as the act is discovered. I can talk to my daughter about it, but she is going to look at me blankly. Something that happened over a month ago is going to make no impression on her.

I understand the mom didn't want to make any ripples, but she knows I'm the harshest judge of my kids and I would have believed her. She's nice and has that kind of ummm...hearts and flowers outlook about her kids. I mentioned that my kids' behavior had improved radically since the holidays were over and she agreed, her kids were better too but she attributed it to the fact she got to spend more time with them. She is a mom who has guilt for leaving her kids. I feel bad for her, she is going to be riddled with guilt for a very long time. And her kids know it. Kids know how to manipulate, its in their genetic make up.

I'm not looking forward to the next ten years with Diva. This is going to happen again. I'll talk to her before she goes to her next party, but as she gets older, my influence is going to drop. I never had these problems as a kid. I was always one of the outcast kids, one of the ones the others picked on. Diva is a different kid entirely. She knows everyone at school. She's outgoing and for the most part, friendly. But I can already see the peer pressure kicking in. If I can get her to adulthood without tearing my hair out, I will consider it a triumph.

Supernerd is being kind of a pill too. I don't remember the last time he did homework. I used to pitch a fit and threaten, but I stopped. It wasn't doing any good. The worse part of it is that his teacher seems to have no consequences. He does fine on tests and projects, but he had no interest in doing the weekly homework. The teacher doesn't seem to care. If there are no consequences at school, I'm not sure how I can be make him do it at home. I've done 5th grade before, I have two other kids, a house, a husband and my writing. He's 11, old enough to manage his own homework. If the teacher is just assigning it as busy work,fine, but I don't think she is. Eventually, he is going to learn this lesson, but it is going to hurt like hell when he does.

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