After I posted my tour of the living room I decided it was past time to take everything out of the drawers under the window and get them organized. Today I worked my tail off for 6 hours, and the drawers look great.
The rest of the living room does not.
As Mr. December came out of his office this evening I met him as he walked through the Makery to get to the stairs.
“I spent today throwing out papers and reorganizing,” I said.
“Wow,” He said, looking around the makery with all of its surfaces covered in stuff. “Well, I guess it has to look worse before it looks better!”
“I wasn’t cleaning up in here.” I said flatly. “I did the drawers upstairs in the living room.”
“Ohhhhh…” He said. “I think you should probably do down here, too.”
Thanks, Captain Obvious. Once again, you have saved our village.
We have a wonderful, unique opportunity this week to focus our attention on K. All three of her siblings are staying with grandparents for a couple of weeks, which means she’s an only child. Last night she thought that was a good thing. Today she seems less sure.
When I’m running between four children’s academic activities I don’t have time to sit and deal with the resistance K puts up every time something is difficult. I mostly say something like, “Sulk if you want, but get it done,” and then I leave the room to check on someone else. Very often she spends the next hour listening to music, swinging to calm down, or reading her current book until I check on her again. Then we repeat that cycle until dinnertime.
But now I have time to sit on her. As the excuses roll off her tongue, the tough love rolls off mine: “Nobody cares about excuses. You have to get your work done. If there are problems, try different things until you solve them, or ask us for help. But get your work done. I’ll sit here and wait.”
In a way, K making academic progress is like decluttering and organizing my drawers. It initially looks like everything is ok because she’s sitting at a desk in the library with a pencil in hand. Then I get involved and start to ask questions and see what’s actually going on. Now we’re at the stage where it’s all a mess: she’s getting worked up about the uselessness of an assignment and nothing is getting done. That’s where we’ve left it for tonight… just like the living room.