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I’m still not sure why the reading log is one single loose sheet of paper

October 19, 2010

Parenting is a lot of details. Even when you’ve been doing it for years and years, it still keeps bringing you new things, and co-parenting adds another layer. LOD had the kids from Saturday night through today, and I forgot to put our older son’s reading log from school into his backpack when I handed them off. So I stuck it in my purse before I left for work on Monday, and stopped by on my way home to deliver it. (Which might be the beginning of a policy: If it’s the parent’s fault, we deliver it. If it’s the kid’s fault, we don’t. We’ll see how that goes.)

I’ve developed the stereotypical and annoying head cold, and by the time I got to LOD’s place all I wanted was to eat some spicy soup and gouge out my sinuses with a spoon. So I handed over the reading log, and then we had some sort of random business to discuss, and then we started in with the calendar. The normal schedule, and when we were switching, and who had what when, and who owed what to whom, and how, and why. Things that would have been just little points of debate on a normal day became too much for me. So I told LOD I needed to go home, and left, feeling overwhelmed and cranky about having to coordinate all the details.

When I walked in the door with my spicy soup, I turned on the TV and was instantly drawn in to the New York gubernatorial debate. I really have no way to describe how bizarre and fascinating this spectacle was. We had the uber-aloof Andrew Cuomo, the bumbling and confused Carl Paladino, a Green Party candidate who sounded like Colonel Sanders, the Rent Is Too Damn High Party candidate with Colonel Sanders’ facial hair and black gloves on, the Anti-Prohibition Party candidate who used to own an escort service, a very wry and witty Libertarian candidate, and the angry Freedom Party candidate in a Nehru jacket.

90 minutes of pure jaw-dropping delights, including the part in which the Anti-Prohibition Party candidate said she could run the MTA better than the MTA does because her escort service only had one set of books and all her services were on time, Carl Paladino’s seeming unfamiliarity with the concept of a yes-no question, and the Libertarian Party candidate’s saying he and two of the other candidates could do the work of some highly-paid committee “once a month over a pizza and a six-pack.”

As they were talking, I started thinking about how much posturing and positioning the candidates were doing, but how they were all basically saying the same thing. There were a handful of issues they seemed to be split on, but for the most part everyone wanted to cut wasteful spending, create jobs, and restructure the tax system somehow. It was as if they had the idea that they were supposed to disagree with everyone, but really they all had common goals.

And just like that, I realized that LOD and I are really on the same team. No–I’m just kidding. What actually happened was that LOD called just then to ask about some school-related thing and I said, “Turn on New York1 right now–you are not going to believe this!” and he did and we were gobsmacked together by how weird it all was. And just like that, I realized that if there was a gubernatorial debate on every week (or, even better, a “NY Governor’s Mansion” reality TV show pleasepleaseplease), LOD and I could do all our calendar scheduling during that show, and we’d be laughing too hard to be that concerned about our own details.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. October 19, 2010 4:45 pm

    Libertarians do tend to be wry and witty, as a general rule. We tend toward the very dry end of the humor spectrum, as well. And we don’t necessarily laugh, but might actually say in words, “Heh, that was funny.”

  2. Andrea permalink
    October 19, 2010 4:53 pm

    Ah, Moxie, you crack me up! I heard about the debate here in Illinois this morning; it sounded bizarre. And maybe I’m just sympathizing with the head cold fog, cause I’m there too, but yes, we really are on the same side. All trying to accomplish the same goal, no?

  3. Jessica permalink
    October 19, 2010 5:07 pm

    I’m not sure it’s fair to make kids stick to the “If it’s the parent’s fault, we deliver it. If it’s the kid’s fault, we don’t.” policy. After all, they didn’t ask to have two homes.

    My step-kids have 50-50 and it’s annoying to have to schlep stuff back and forth, but I figure it must be even more annoying to be the one whose stuff is getting schlepped.

    Toys and non-essentials don’t necessarily get delivered, but we usually help them out when they forget things they need for school or sports.

  4. askmoxie permalink*
    October 19, 2010 5:12 pm

    Jessica, do you deliver things for school if the kids forget? My parents definitely did NOT with my brother and me, and we learned not to forget stuff we really needed, or to figure out another way. I think we’re both still pretty MacGuyverish in that way, and I think it’s because we had to be responsible for our own stuff knowing they wouldn’t bail us out.

    • Jill permalink
      October 19, 2010 11:22 pm

      My kids get one free trip a year, and after that I deliver forgotten stuff, but they pay me. I figure my time is worth a lot, plus there is gas money- so they pay me, and yet their stuff gets where it needs to be. They usually use up their free trip, but I’ve only had to collect money twice in several years.

  5. Katherine permalink
    October 19, 2010 5:20 pm

    I’m not divorced, but I figure its the same idea if something is forgotten for school or a friends. If its my fault, I deliver, but if it is theirs, I make them pay me for the service. Same thing for rides to school – if you miss the bus because you are not moving, I charge how much gas it will take me (and if you do this too often, I charge chore time also), but if you need a ride because a project is too big or awkward to take on the bus I don’t. Same thing for forgotten homework. My parents used to give us one freebie per year or semester, I forget which.

  6. Camilla permalink
    October 19, 2010 6:54 pm

    You can’t cover the paperwork with a scanner or fax machine?

  7. askmoxie permalink*
    October 19, 2010 7:02 pm

    Camilla, you mean fax it to LOD? He doesn’t have a fax machine. And the school secretary would laugh her ass off if I tried to fax in my kid’s reading log. And it’s tons easier just to take the log over than to haul out and hook up the scanner. Maybe if I had an assistant at work… Unfortunately, my only employee has actual company-related work to do. I wonder if I could get an intern, like Kramer did on Seinfeld.

  8. Kari Weber permalink
    October 19, 2010 8:19 pm

    As a teacher… can I just tell you how HAPPY this makes me?! I can not tell you how many FIFTH grader parents come running to school in their pajamas to deliver something the CHILD forgot. I just look at them and all their ridiculousness and think, “seriously? They don’t see the lesson here?!” I tell my parents at Back to School night, “Please! Do NOT bring forgotten homework, projects, etc. to your child when they have forgotten them! YOU have already done the fifth grade!” Some listen, some don’t.

  9. Celeste permalink
    October 19, 2010 8:29 pm

    My daughter has a pair of required school items that live in her backpack. One is a folder that the teacher sends home notices, homework, and graded papers in. The other is a planner that the kids keep that a parent has to sign every night.

    What I propose is that your use a Parent folder that lives in each backpack and the reading log will stay in there except when it is being filled out. I figure you each check each backpack every night anyhow so you would see the log then and find out if something should be added to it.

    And may I take a moment to loathe any kind of paperwork log that a school asks us to fill out on our own time?

  10. October 19, 2010 9:43 pm

    I just fell in love with you for your faux moral of the story.

    Katherine, love charging the kids for your time when they were forgetful. Super, really.

  11. October 19, 2010 11:26 pm

    You crack me up! And I hated Wednesday morning for 14 years, because I had to wake up extra early to be sure not to forget the stuff I needed at my dad’s.

  12. October 20, 2010 9:42 am

    “a “NY Governor’s Mansion” reality TV show ”

    Sheer.Brilliance. Please someone, make this happen right now. Throw all those people in a house together and see who freaks out over someone sticking fingers in their peanut butter. (My bet would be Paladino.)

  13. October 20, 2010 5:44 pm

    My ex takes the kids one night a week (a weeknight), so we use a communication folder that stays in the suitcase. I put all the newsletters, fundraisers, etc. in the folder so he’s kept in the loop. The kids have class folders where their homework should be.

    Like some of the commenters, I also believe in letting the kids have their own consequences when they forget something — from homework to gym shoes to book orders. It teaches the lesson better than any long-winded parental lecture would.

    Plus, I’m not going to let their consequence become ours. I can’t be late to work because my kid forgot something for school and I had to run back and get it. No way.

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