Friday, April 3, 2009

Thank Goodness for Spring Break!

Today is my first day of spring break and I really need it.

It began with a busy night. Alex, bless his heart, is a procrastinator. His senior research paper is due today, April 3. He got all the information about it on January 5. Yep, he had THREE MONTHS to get this completed.

I began to get on his case about this at least a month ago. Then as I was reading his myspace and facebook pages, I'm seeing updates from his classmates saying how far they are on the paper. (Yes, I read his myspace and facebook, and his email as well. Call me a nosy parent. I refer to it as being an informed parent.) When I commented to him that many people seem to be almost finished with their papers, he got upset.

Last weekend he went out with a big group of friends. HOWEVER, I told him that he could NOT go unless his paper was completed. It was completed and awaiting my proof reading. We spent an hour going over two pages, then he said he needed a break from the material. Cute. I couldn't go over it without him because I'm not familiar enough with the material. A few days later we got back to it. Then he decided to change some things. Fortunately he'd typed it all and saved it, but it is beyond me as to why he did it the hard way. He did it on his laptop in MSword, then copy/pasted it into an email, then sent it to himself so it could be opened on the main computer in the den, then copy/pasted into Word again. I asked him why he didn't just keep it in Word and add it to an email as an attachment. He said it was too much trouble. (Still shaking my head on that one.)

As I made some of the corrections, I just happened to ask him if he needed a title page. Why, of course he did, and it had to follow a specific format. Naturally. Was there anything else I needed to know? Well, he had a notebook at school, YES, AT SCHOOL, that gave all the information about the specifics. Oh yeah, and his physics paper was also due TODAY.

Wednesday night I told him NOT to come home on Thursday without everything, and I meant EVERYTHING, needed to complete the paper. Fortunately, he did. That's when I found out how the title page needed to look, that he also needed to turn in a typed outline AND at least 75 notecards. Oh yes, don't forget about how the first page of the paper needed to look. The entire paper needed to be written in MLA style and I've never used MLA. I've only written in APA. Yesterday I emailed his english teacher and asked her how to write song titles (in italics, underlined, in quotes, or nothing special). She emailed me back almost immediately and gave me the information I needed. She was very nice about it and told me to let her know if I had any other questions. She was probably thinking, "It's a little late in the game to be wondering about things like this." To be honest, that's what I was thinking.

It's hard to let your child struggle to meet a deadline when they could benefit from your help, and I know I should have let him sink or swim on his own. But I just couldn't. I had to help.

Yes, I'm an enabler.

But, in my defense, all I did last night was implement the changes we talked about and type the title page. He typed the outline (I couldn't read his writing anyway) and he did the works cited page. And I haven't even READ his physics paper.

Then this morning, the phone rang at 6:50. His car totally died on his way to school. He said the battery light came on, the radio stopped working, and it slowed down. He got off the road safely. Ted went to pick him up then Alex took Ted's truck to school. Ted came into the bedroom and said that he would take care of everything and I wouldn't need to worry about anything. At 7:15, the phone rang again. It was Alex. He said that he was sorry and he knew that everyone was mad at him. I told him that I wasn't mad. I didn't get upset when he called earlier, but that his dad isn't always the nicest person when his morning routine is interrupted. I talked to Alex for about 10 minutes and told him that this is not a big can be fixed, and that the important thing is that he's fine.

Before he hung up, I told him that he really has to learn to not leave things to the last minute. Now that his papers were finished, he would work on a scholarship application this weekend. He knows that he absolutely HAS to, or there will be trouble.

Mixed in with all of this, Joe has had trouble with his computer. It needed a new hard drive. He took it to the computer shop and got it back the other day. Now it won't go online. I told him I would work on that after Alex's papers were finished, but he is NOT a patient person. He worked on things yesterday during the day and sort of screwed up the main computer. I was not happy. I ended up yelling at him, and he was yelling at me, and then I really felt bad because yesterday was his BIRTHDAY. I was in the den, working on the computer, trying everything I knew to do. He had a class last night and was to take a box of carnations with him to drop off at my mom and dad's after class. He ended up taking BOTH boxes (one box was for me). A teacher at school sells them as a spring fundraiser for her civic organization each year and I always order a box. When she brought them all to school yesterday, I saw a box with mixed colors and asked if she had any extras...I thought my parents would like them. She did have an extra box! Apparently, though, I was not clear when I asked Joe to drop them off after class. So today I need to be an Indian giver (I have no idea where that term came from) and go retrieve a dozen pink carnations from my parents.

And's time to start enjoying my spring break!


Jen said...

You have been busy lately!

I always used to leave things to the last minute too.

PERBS said...

I don't believing in helping kids with term papers except answering questions. My middle son didn't care about Algebra and barely got by to pass the course. Today, he wishes he knew Algebra so he could get higher in the fire department by taking some college classes which require math. . . he won't do it because he knows he should have cared in high school.I told him colleges have tutors but he won't listen. . .

Terre said...

If you have Word 2007 the references tab gives you different reference styles to use and one of them is MLA, you just need to choose it and it will format the paper for you. A little late I know. Tell Joe Happy Birthday, I still can't get over he and Alexa have the same birthdate! Ter

Alexa said...

My mom will make fun of my 'book of facts' but I just learned this the other day and can't help it.

The term Indian giver came from the fact that many times the French/English settlers would make land treaties with the Native American Indian tribes only to renege on the agreement later and take back the land.

People that gave something then later took it back became known as Indian givers.

Happy Birthday to Joe! And good luck to Alex on his scholarships!

theArthurClan said...

Darn it all...I was hoping that when my kids reached high school age, I wouldn't have to help with homework so much. I guess that's not the way real life goes though. It's hard for kids that age to learn responsibility (I was always the teen finishing my papers at the last minute as well so I really feel for him.) I feel more sorry for you though! :)