Monday mornings we have piano lessons. A family friend is their teacher, and due to some interesting schedule changes, her kids are home this month during lesson time. I made a deal with the boys that they could play with the kids if they agree to complete their math assignment before we go. Last week was our first run-through and things went rather well.
This morning, I got them up early again and right after breakfast I took them downstairs to start the math lesson. I’ve been more hands-on with math recently so it’s been taking longer than it had to get all the problems completed. Right away today The Mercenary insisted that they wouldn’t have enough time to get everything done. It quickly turned into an argument, which I ended by announcing that I had a plan, there was enough time, and they’d just have to try it out to see if I was right.
As soon as I finished going over the new concept (this took all of ten minutes) I sent them off to do their page while I worked on lessons with the younger boys. It wasn’t long before loud hysterical laughter started emanating from the office. They played with the puppy for a while, then sent her out but continued being very silly.
I just KNEW they weren’t getting anything done. Normally I go and try to get them back on track by reminding them of their job and warning that they’ll suffer (insert consequence here-today it was lost friend time) if they don’t straighten up.
This time, I didn’t do it. I stopped myself from walking over to the office and instead focused on younger boys’ work. When it was time to go to piano lessons I initiated departure procedures.
Boy were they upset! The shock and betrayal… it was impressive. The Mercenary said, “I TOLD you we didn’t have enough time!!!” I just replied, “Well I guess not, since you were so busy laughing and playing for the last half hour.”
TechnoBoy decided to work on his assignment in the car so as to salvage at least a little play time. The Mercenary joined him, and they both worked furiously while I drove. When we got to lessons I asked to see their papers and TechnoBoy handed me two completed assignments. I asked him, “So you finished in 15 minutes what you couldn’t do in 30?”
His reply: “Stop proving your point!!!”
I could learn to like this way of parenting.
Photo graciously provided by A Moon Man, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved