The following is a post from contributing writer, Julianna, of Petunia June.
Over the years I’ve observed that I tend to get a tad high strung during school hours. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that I have four children in four different grades and I like things to be perfect. But I could be wrong about that.
When they were younger it was necessary to supervise every child during every minute of school lest writing somehow morph into wrestling. As they’ve gotten older, however, I’ve noticed that I now have the luxury of actually leaving the room from time to time to tend to other needs around the house. (After ten years of homeschooling, I can finally get the breakfast dishes put away before lunch. It’s truly remarkable.)
Ever in need of control, I’ve developed a habit of preparing my younger children with very thorough instructions when I know that I will be out of the room for a few minutes. It goes something like this:
“Darling? Mommy has to put in a load of laundry. I’ll only be gone for a few minutes. So while I’m gone, you must stay in your seat and work diligently on your math page. Let’s see if you can finish this row and this row before I get back. Do you understand?”
Darling nods her head, but I remain unconvinced.
“Can you repeat what Mommy said?” She dutifully regurgitates the information. “Very good.”
I move on to the next wayward child. “Now, son. I need to leave the room for a minute. No guns. No Star Wars. Yes, you can still be Luke Skywalker. But be a diligent Luke Skywalker. Stay focused. I’d like you to be done with problem five when I get back. May the force be with you.”
The child nods. I take note of the glazed look in his Jedi eyes and request that he repeat the instructions.
He repeats, and I can finally leave the room knowing (well, fervently hoping) that my children will behave like model students. (Naturally.)
Now, there was one morning in particular where I left the room and was met with the unexpected. I had delivered my room-vacating speech with eloquence and clarity, convinced that everyone would be able to independently follow instructions for a mere two or three minutes.
Upon my return, however, I did not find my darling working diligently on her math page. I didn’t even find my darling. But I did find her math page. And across the top, a note hastily written above warped polygons:
Please stay calm. She’s pooping.
Apparently children need to leave the room from time to time, too. This child anticipated my reaction and in a fit of desperation scrawled the excuse for her absence. One shouldn’t be expected to draw polygons when experiencing uncomfortable pressure.
I was tactfully confronted with my tendency to run a very tight ship. So in an attempt to ease up on my burdened children, I’ve decided that I shall henceforth deliver a revised exit speech. A pooping clause is definitely in order.
When not delivering impressive room-vacating speeches to her four children, Julianna can be found over at Petunia June, where she writes about family, faith and the fullness of joy.