This week I decided that Amber would do her book report that is due on December 8. I am doing this more for me than her, because I know how I will have to push, plan, explain, yell, and curse under my breath just to get this project done. [An aside: What ever happen to reading a book and writing a page or two book report? Why are the kids required to be creative, which means the parents have to be creative, which then means money spent on things that may or may not be used and can not be used for anything else? Just asking.] I need time for all of that to take place and, of course, I like making my daughter’s life a living hell. You know, because it is just so much fun for me.
I took time on Saturday to reread the directions, to confer with SoHubby on what might be needed and ideas, and made a list of things to get. Then on Sunday, we did a bit of running around trying to find all the supplies that Amber would need for HER project. Amber wanted no part of this; she was mad that we didn’t let her go to her friend’s house. How dare we make her do her homework. And how dare her homework be something that took more thought than the 10 minutes a night she usually spends. Amber is a smart girl. It is proven every semester with her report card of straight A’s. It is further proven that she doesn’t study, more like I am too busy being a human pacifier that I don’t know she had to study until it is too late, but she still makes A’s on her test. However, she tends to hurry through things and makes silly mistakes. It is pure torture to make her stop, think and take her time on things. So while in Target as she stomped away with arms folded scrawling that if she got an F on this project it would be her father and mine’s fault. I lost it. LOST IT! I had taken time out of my weekend to help her and how DARE her sassing me. I bent down, grabbed her arm, got in her face and explained to her in a stern voice that if she didn’t be quiet and show some interest in this project then I was going to put everything back and she could just find her own way to the store, get her own supplies with her own money and do her own DAMN project on her own.
Sounds like a good idea. I mean I don’t remember my mom putting much effort into my projects. She might have bought some poster board, but the rest was up to me. My only instructions from her was to get it into school on time. It seems that these days schools are requiring so much more than just some graphs on poster board. Amber has to recreate the book she read for her book report. That’s right she needs to read it, write it in her own words and then be creative enough to make it look like a book. Don’t tell me there are second graders out there that can do that totally on their own. Hell, I needed SoHubby’s help just for ideas on what supplies she might need. This is only the beginning, too, I have seen the future and it ain’t pretty. One of our friend’s daughter had to make a car that ran on its own. WTF? Seriously, WTF? If I would have known about the cars that needed to be built out of nothing, nursing bras that needed to be snapped while holding squirming babies and complicated train tracks that I would be required to put together I would have forgotten about that Liberal Arts degree and got something more useful, like an engineering degree.
I thought the Target incident was a one time thing. Amber was mad that she had to do homework, spend time with her oh so boring parents when she could have been at her friend’s house having a grand time. I mean, even though the house is similar to ours, it is way better and so much cooler. Not to mention her friend’s mom is so great that Amber would sell her right arm if she would just adopt her. I would soon find out that Amber is trying on a new attitude and we are simply disagreeing about its fit. She thinks her britches are fitting just fine and I think that her they are way too big for a 7-year-old girl. Along with the too big britches comes a sense of entitlement, a smart mouth and the attitude of a 16-year-old. It takes every fiber of my being not to scream and shake her. Somehow I am thinking that shaking her might just shake that smartass right out of her. It hasn’t been proven, so I will continue to grit my teeth and try to be civil.
Today, we stop at Wal-Mart for some Christmas shopping. [And yes, I know some of you will see only this and give me the "YOU go to Wal-Mart?" speech. Yeah, yeah, times are tough all over.] I stopped in the Wal-Mart salon (Can you call it that?) to see if they sell a certain hair product that I use. The “lady” (a transgender stylist) asked if we needed help. Amber took a liking to her and begged for me to get her bangs trimmed. This pissed me off for a couple of reasons: 1. I have been asking her to get her bangs cut for months, now. She had decided she was going to let them grow out, because one of her friends doesn’t have bangs. and 2. We just came from having pictures taken. When I told Amber that we could get her bangs trimmed for half the price at Wondercuts she went into the whining,” buuuuuut Mooooom” voice. Here is where everyone tells me you should have stuck to your guns. I admit I kicked myself wondering why I didn’t just say no and be done with it. Mainly, I didn’t like being put on the spot like that in front of another person and didn’t you just read I had just come from having pictures taken with three kids. And one of those kids was Sam, who I apparently tortured by taking his shoes and socks off. I was worn down to the nub. After we left I explained to Amber that we need to be frugal with our money and that she can’t be so impulsive. When I got the “it’s only money” look, I grabbed her face and told her that she needs to leave that princess attitude behind. We ain’t living in no castle. Can’t you tell, we are at da Wal-Mart?
These instances just make me scared for the future. When Amber was younger we could afford to buy her anything and I practically did. Once Sam came along, I started curtailing the frivolous spending and teaching the kids that we can’t have everything we want right when we want it. It was sinking in, but it is a hard fight against peer pressure and the power of commercial TV. Let’s face it, my kids may not have everything their peers have, but they are not suffering one bit. I thought by giving Amber an allowance, requiring her to buy certain things and making her save would do the work for me, but I have to be a constant reminder that money doesn’t grow on trees and there is hard work behind every dollar that is spent. It is a hard road and I hope that one day she will get it. I have already started the talk that if you are in our house after you graduate high school then you need to work or go to school. Hell, maybe even both. I hope the entitled sass talking little girl that is here, today, will be a much wiser girl in the future. It is making me rethink any preconceived ideas I might have had for when my kids become teenagers. That beat up old Chevy that they pay for themselves is looking better and better with every sass talking entitlement word that comes out of her mouth. Her brother and sister are going to be pissed.