Monday, August 16, 2010

A Tale Of Two Brothers.....


We've been rather spoilt with big son. He was born an 'old soul', is wise beyond his years, has taught himself good manners and really has just brought himself up perfectly (I slightly exaggerate in that we might have helped a little bit along the way). He is so self directed with everything he does, I don't think I have ever helped him with one molecule of his homework... apart from sourcing project materials. His 'Insect Diorama' in Grade 2 got an A, as it was the only one that looked like a kid had done it.

Little son, well he's a completely different soul. He has a loving, protective big brother who has waited on him hand and foot all his life..... so he's more than happy to play the role of the 'lazy one'. He is spectacularly skilled in 'tactical homework avoidance' and 'creative fibbing' to cover his tracks.... he fools us time and time again... and always manages to get us on a 'technicality'. If only he would put as much effort into doing his homework as he does making up excuses for not doing it. His teacher has resorted to, "if you weren't in a coma in the hospital, I am not interested in your excuse". The final straw this week, was the 'red signature' at school for lagging behind in his reading (3 x red signatures = detention).

At our wits end, hubby and I decided to bring out the big guns... 'a ban from playing in his soccer match on the weekend'. Hubby was the mastermind behind it.... as he remembers the exact feeling of despair when he was inflicted with the same punishment as a lad. He's still damaged.... but thinks he learnt from it?!

Little one took it remarkably well, after he picked himself up from the initial melodramatic slump to the floor. He knew he was in serious trouble, due to the nature of the punishment, so he quickly composed himself, hoping that the punishment didn't extend to soccer training next week. He waved his big brother off to his match, biting his lip, holding his tears back and then settled into some.... homework.. with hovering mother.

First step in the 'tactical homework avoidance' was to quickly slip in a completely irrelevant activity, while Mum was out of the room putting a load of washing on.... googling and making! "the most difficult origami dragon"...quote, unquote...... "yes Mum, I will start my project as soon as I am finished here".... the kid has gall let me tell you.

We finally settled into his 'Honey - From Hive to Table' project... me espousing scientific facts and little one 'putting it into his own words'.....spectacularly rewarding morning... big smiles and high fives all 'round.

Little one even made a few swift changes to the 'Homework Avoidance Origami Dragon' and it now takes pride of place.... in the centre of his project... as a 3-D honey bee. Resourceful.

During bedtime snuggles..."I know why you and Dad did that to me today Mum..... to make me a better Man" (school motto is "Manners Maketh the Man".... it's all about becoming decent men around here!). Ah yes, the brainwashing is working. Hopefully. Here's to a better week :)... he's going to be doing a lot of reading and I am going to be doing a lot of 'hovering'.


  1. Oh A-M, this post brings a smile to my face, I recognise so much about Little One (Big One's self direction I must admit is a completely novel idea to me, did not know boys could be like that, he sounds amazing). I know so well the homework avoidance strategy and the slump to the floor. But where we part company is the skilful and committed way you dealt with the homework aversion - I must try to emulate you, you are obviously a Top Mother; I fail completely at that thing the parenting books say is vital - consistency, one minute I am screaming like a banshee at them to do their homework and breathing down their necks like mad stalker Mom, next minute I decide it is up to them and they have to Take the Consequences - we had an epic Boy 1 melt down last term when he got a warning ( which means you lose a housepoint) for failing to choose a poem for his English speaking exam; he had I am sure been reminded at least 6 times!!
    Good luck with Little One, both he and Big One look so lovely, Bx

  2. Oh Blighty, there are plenty of inconsistencies here behind the scenes and 'banshee outbursts'... hence the 'extreme parenting' tactic we took on the weekend! A-M xx

  3. I loved reading this A-M, all these things I've got to look forward to. It's funny how kids can be so different isn't it. My sister and I are completely different and I remember my parents having to pull out the 'big guns' of threats with her when she was playing up and not doing well at the begining of high school. But it worked! She got top marks in her HSC and is now a high school teacher at our old school!
    Have a lovely day A-M,

  4. Oh A-M I'm tripping down memory lane.
    My two are totally chalk and cheese also. Yes it did my head in at times because different strategies were constantly at play. Hey they still are.
    Talk about raving banshees, I resembled one last night! Picture this...a tube of Dencorub left lying about on carpet floor. I trod on it, cap popped, almighty explosion. White goo all over sofa and carpet. Not happy Jan!
    I digress. My boy was brilliant at avoiding homework especially reading and we despaired. He was one of those kids who is very intelligent but was going to achieve in his own timeframe (he just forgot to tell mum and dad!)
    He is now studying for his Masters degree and works in a responsible job. Try not to fret although I know it's easier said than done.
    You know, the level of schoolwork required of our kids today is pretty mindblowing.
    Little ones project looks wonderful from here, hope he gets a good grade.

  5. Hi A-M
    My son is the second child currently in prep. He is very happy to be waited on hand and foot. Even insisting he dresses himself in the morning is an effort. I dread to think what he is going to be like with homework.

    I hope the new tactics work. At least your son recognises it is for his own good! That is very mature.


  6. Rofl. I love the teacher's comment- such an extreme response. Your poor little baby- he's so young lol. Mine is like your first so I have never been through this but my sister has. Her 2 boys are the same. She had given up all hope as her eldest approached Yr11. I kept telling her he will put in the effort when he has too. And much to her surprise he did. He got great results for his first test that counts for his TER mark.
    There is hope yet. Actually with all that gift of the gab he would make a brilliant lawyer- if he can get the marks to get in- which would require doing homework lol.

  7. Ah what a great weekend with you and little one, even if it meant sacrificing his soccer match to learn a lesson. These are moments that will define who you as parents are and who he will grow into. To be young again!


  8. I would love a ban on all homework! I have a variety of workers at my place - some self sufficient, one dreamer and one perfectionist which is the hardest to deal with of all (can't think where she got it from!!!) If I make it through the next 18 years still sane it will be a miracle.
    Clare x

  9. Little one sounds so much like my middle one (Angus), who is very sly indeed, his latest ploy really took the cake - last week my pillows kept dissapearing from my bed & I would find them tucked up under his head in bed whilst he was sleeping, on Fiday night I asked him why he kept taking my pillows (completely expecting him to tell me it was because my smell on the pillows made him feel contented & overjoyed as he slept) instead he informed me that it was so that he would get a sore neck & therefore a headache upon waking & wouldn't be able to go to school. Needless to say I was shocked and sectretly proud of his ingenuity....


  10. I really enjoyed reading this post A-M, and understand as a parent how difficult it is to carry through with consequences. I am sure Little One will be so much better for the experience.

    I chuckled at the 3D honey bee he added to the project!

  11. I loved this post, very entertaining and so close to home. We too have cancelled the odd soccer game... Sadly I don't think it had the same impact.

  12. I am a teacher and I'd love to ban all homework! plenty of life-lessons to be learnt at home without more bookwork! My youngest has needs and is testing the waters and testing me too!!! ah.. the joys of parenthood!
    enjoying your blog still..any building projects on the horizon???

  13. That project looks fantastic! My girls are the same. Eldest is an 'old soul', youngest is loving, sweet and very defiant. We call her Miss Contrary..Another great story about the boys A-M..Rachaelxx

  14. Gee your kids are Gorgeous looking. My parents nickname for me is Soul because they say I was such a Happy Sul as a baby! xxxxx

  15. Great project done in the end.
    Funny how different 2 children can be. Such sweet special boys

  16. I loved the "coma in a hospital" bit. Ha! I was a really disorganized child (inherited from my disorganized parents) and I think you are going down the right path. I needed to learn discipline and organization (and I did, eventually, but it was hard!) so just keep doing what you can.

  17. Priceless A-M! I think it's the youngest child syndrome at work - my daughter often had extremely elaborate excuses for why her big sister's homework ended up in pieces, and why it was necessary to flush my makeup down the toilet! But don't despair, she's now really diligent with homework, so there's hope for your little fella yet. You know, with that kind of resourceful attitude, your youngest one is sure to go far. You'll just have to make it through the next dozen years or so without pulling every hair out of your head! K xx

  18. Hi A-M, this brings a smile to my face, but wait until they are in High School and you think they are doing what is expected of them and you sneak up the hallway only to find they are on Facebook or MSN. Oh how I love boys. Mimi x

  19. My 10 year old has an obsession with that same origami site and has just had to listen to the same "talk" this week too...

    Bless their little souls!

    Best wishes,

  20. gut. wrenching.

    i've the same problem over here, but no guts to keep them from swim meets or tennis matches.

    bad mom, i am.

    but so pleased you're making their future hubbies into such fine men!

    i miss you! xoxo.

  21. I so enjoy reading your posts about your delightful boys - so nice to see a parent supporting a teacher for once instead of trying to make excuses for their child. Your parenting ways are to be really admired and you are setting such a wonderful example for your boys and helping the to grow into the gorgeous young men they are already becoming :)

  22. Oh AM ..I just love reading your little adventures with your know your going to have to print out this blog as a book one day ( its actually possible) so that your two cherubs can read when they are daddy's ( one day) and realise just how much their mum and dad loved them..and just how darn hard parenting is!! Still...their gorgeous smiles make me want to squish them so tight! lol x


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. A-M xx