By Diane Ako
Having a child who now has homework reminds me, at times, that everything is relative. I had just come home from another non-stop day at the office, and was stressing out about a big work report due the next day.
I had a week to do the project and every single day, I kept saying I'd find the time to write it, but fires kept cropping up, or meetings ran overtime, or some such. I had no time to finish in the workday, so I was finally, begrudgingly, taking my work home to finish that night.
Olivia was unpacking her school bag and starting on her kindergarten homework. She was fussing (partially because she was tired and hungry.) I went over to see how I could help. She had a book report due: a plot summary and a drawing.
"Mommy, can you draw the mermaid tail? I tried to and it doesn't look right," she moped, and gestured to her stick figure with blonde hair and a curved line for a tail. She was trying to copy artwork of Barbie mermaid.
"Sure, Sweetie," I said, and took the crayon. I ended up drawing the tail, some sparkles, a surfboard, some more sparkles on that, and a flower corset on Barbie mermaid's halter top. It did not at all look like the book cover art. I am a horrid artist, but Olivia still liked it. (I suppose I shouldn't admit I just did my kid's homework!)
She then said she had no idea how to write this book report, which to my amusement, asked for a one sentence summary of the book. "What's this book about? Tell Mommy. I didn't read it," I encouraged.
Olivia got all super dramatic and flopped her body around with great emphasis to indicate how frustrated she was with trying to explain this huge, long book. There is just no way to sum up what happened to Mer-Barbie in this 14 page book, apparently.
With a little coaching, I got her to whittle down the plot to "Barbie saves the ocean."
Writing that was an entirely different thing. Again with the drama and the body flops. I had to stand there for five minutes and spell every letter of the sentence.
When it was done, you would have thought Olivia just beat Bryan Clay at the decathlon. She acted like she was so fatigued at this herculean task.
I laughed and thought about this as I sat at the computer for my own herculean task, which I'm relieved to say, I did finish in time. Without too many body flops. I hope we both get an "A."