There are several words that strike fear into the hearts of parents everywhere.
Chuck E. Cheese.
Or, in my case, the school project.
At first I thought it was just me grousing about the school projects that my children are assigned. Then I quickly realized that I am not alone. Almost every parent I chat with brings them up in casual conversation which obviously means only one thing: they are assigned for the sole purpose of making us crazy. Or for the children to have a deeper understanding of the subject matter, but for my purposes it will be the former.
Enter my daughter, who, through some cruel twist of DNA, has apparently inherited the procrastination gene from her both her parents. Up until recently, my answer to the lollygagging has been to just drag the process along until it's completed. But you know, that crap gets real old, real quick, plus it doesn't encourage her to change her habits. My new approach has been to remind her to get going on it and reiterate that it's her responsibility to get them done. After that, the chips can fall where they may.
Here is how the conversation usually goes: (if I could do sound effects here, there would be a lot of almost choking sobs and snotty nose sounds)
Me: have you started on your project yet?
Celi: (crumpling to the floor, face screwed up in emotional agony, tears welling, and wielding the body language of a whipped puppy) noooooooo...
Me: Cecilia. You have to get going on this. We can't take this up the last minute and I am not doing it for you.
Celi: (sobbing) I know Mommy, I'm sorry.
Me: Why are you crying?
Celi: I just don't knoooooowww. You're mad at meeeeeeeeeee....
Me: honey, I am not mad at you and there is no reason to cry about this. Just get started and we'll help you.
Celi: (still boohooing) I'm just not perfect like Amber!
Me: (Siiigghhh) I love puberty. Anyone want to go for a lice check?
While entertaining, the problem with the conversation is that it doesn't just happen once. Know why? Because she still continues to do nothing, all the while bemoaning her existence as NotAmber.
And then a day or so later, we have the Exact. Same. Conversation.
And again, a day or so later. And so forth, until eventually, the switch flips on until lo and behold, the magic starts happening, and she squeaks it in just under the wire, which makes me totally crazy.
This is why the school project makes me insane. It's not the little plastic animals, or the endless power point slides, or even the white tri-fold boards. In hindsight, it really isn't the project itself. The problem, it would seem, is a young girl named NotAmber. Chuck E Cheese, party of one, your table is ready.