I’ve met the enemy; Homework is its name

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I have a new enemy, and its name is Homework.

It’s not an unfamiliar foe. I’ve fought it before and won, but this year, its power is stronger than ever. I think it’s because a new player – a first grader – has been added to the mix, and the second grade playing field is now stacked with reading (in a book and on a polish page), two sheets of math, spelling and vocabulary words.

The first week of school wasn’t bad at all. There were a few friendly skirmishes between Homework and me. It was like we were getting a feel for each other. It would strike out with a broken pencil lead, and I would counter with a pencil sharpener – things like that.

But, Monday night, Homework nearly won. Its maniacal laughter pushed me to the point where my post on Facebook read: “I swear to all things holy, if M. doesn’t finish her homework, I might cry.” That was at 9:15 p.m.

We’d made good progress getting home, getting dinner started and such. All three girls worked on the small table on the back porch while I put the chicken on the grill. The oldest was finished, except for a small reading assignment in which she had to define the plot, the conflict, the rising action and the resolution of the story. If you think that one was easy for me, you’d be completely wrong. It took an hour arguing with an 11-year-old to work through and pinpoint those four points.

Then, Homework thought it’d be funny to flap the bottom of its sheet in the wind and knock over someone’s drink, which sent Kool-Aid everywhere. Apologies to the second grade math teacher for the blue-tinted addition sheet, but, by golly, I won that skirmish with a hair dryer.

After math, we moved on the reading portion of the competition. Homework was very clever here, using the lack of an attention span and my ever-growing sense of frustration against us. It was here that I had to use my one and only time-out, which we used as an opportunity to eat supper and for the nightly bath. That was at 7:15 p.m., and by 7:40 p.m., we were back at it again.

Soon, we were back to the grind, and Homework didn’t hesitate to pull out all the stops.

Finally, the random series of vacant stares were brought to focus, and Homework was laid to bed about 9:30 that night.

Sadly, the only battle I was able to walk away a clear victor in was coloring five purple circles and two yellow squares. Sad, isn’t it?

I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person. But I know as the years go on, the battles between Homework and me will become epic, if not legendary.

I look forward to the challenge.