Long before Christmas, Doodlebug and I had gone 'round and 'round about his schoolwork, and I'd finally settled - reluctantly, but because I had little other choice - into the routine of giving him due dates and letting him complete/turn in his work when he wanted. Which means I'm on call 24/7 and he's spending more and more time not completing work when it needs to be done and more and more time doing it on the 5th of Never.
I had been hopeful that after several weeks off - one at Thanksgiving, two at Christmas - we would be able to get back into a more productive routine and he'd actually start giving a flying flip about his school work.
I couldn't have been more wrong if I tried. Any doubts about sending him to public school this fall are gone. G. O. N. E. Because if I keep him here, I'll kill him.
But I'll want to do the Homer Simpson neck-squeezing thing a lot. ("WHY, YOU LITTLE....!!!")
It's 11:10 a.m. He woke up late, because he refuses to set an alarm. He refuses to set an alarm because he assumes that it's someone else's job to wake him and/or he'll hear Boo getting ready and be able to wake up and get his chores done before school 'starts' at 8:30. Anyway, he woke up late. He threw a giant fit when I told him that chores needed to be done before breakfast because this fall he'll be able to get on the bus holding a piece of toast, but he can't feed the cats while riding to school. Plus, it does take him that long to accept a new routine. He stomped around, hollering at me because clearly this is all my fault. He fed the cats while stomping. He fed his lizard while stomping. And just about the time I was going to threaten to get the hacksaw and dare him to stomp around on bloody stumps, he quit stomping so he could clean out the litter boxes (which, by the way, is a chore he chose so he would no longer have to help hand-wash dishes. The logic of this choice escapes me, since I know which I'd rather do, but never mind, he chose it and there it is).
Meanwhile, Boo and I went upstairs to start school.
The boy came up a few minutes later. "I need to refill the litter boxes, and we're out of litter."
Now, I knew - knew - that when I'd been in the garage, I'd seen plenty of containers of litter sitting where they always sit, right beside the deep freeze. So I thought I'd call his bluff.
"There's more in the garage. Do you need help bringing it in?"
"No, those are empty. I've been putting the empty ones back out there."
Silence. Cue sound of head hitting desk.
"So you're telling me we have five cats, three litter boxes, and no litter."
A nod was all I got.
The rule in this house is that Mama (or Dad) needs three days' notice to get anything like this, so we don't have to make emergency store runs for things like cat food, lizard food, milk, etc. Usually I get 24-48 hours' notice, which is good enough most of the time. But this was 8:45 a.m. (15 minutes late for school already), Sam's Club doesn't open till 10, and I've got stuff to get done today that can't be put off. And I hate, hate, HATE the smell of cat pee. Right up there with roaches on the list of things I don't want in my house.
I told him to figure out how to get at least two functioning litter boxes and sent him back downstairs.
Scream stomp stomp stomp muttermutter hoot squawk stomp.
He found a solution and made it to 'school' half an hour late. Whatever. Then it took him 1.5 hours to complete his first assignment, one that I've seen him finish in 20 minutes when the mood takes him. He's been working on his second assignment for 45 minutes. Again, this is one that could be done in 20. I know, because his sister did it in 25.
I'm going to go to lunch with a friend now. I know that nothing will be completed in my absence. I've tailored this curriculum till it can't be tailored any more, and he claims to like it all, but he just. doesn't. care.
Have I mentioned I can't wait for August to get here? I love my son, but I can't love him as well when I feel like I'm fighting with him 24/7.