At 7:25 this morning, Jessica rushed into my room yelling. I didn't know what the hell she was talking about, because I was fast asleep. Eventually I understood the words "overslept" "bus" and the dreaded "late." She was still in her pyjamas, so I instructed her to go get dressed, and that Dad has a dentist appointment across town there and can drive her to school. She immediately started to get upset.
"I have a quarterly exam that has to be turned in at 7:35am. I'm going to get a zero."
Mind you, it was 7:20.
"Honey, there is no way on earth I can get you there by 7:35. Just go get dressed and I'll email your teacher. I'll see if you're truly receiving a zero or if you'll just get a lower grade."
"But it's pointless now. I'm going to get a zero. I did all that work this weekend. I'm going to fail."
I'm not sure as a parent what can or should be said to a kid in this situation.
And this comes down to a lesson learned and an applied belief from my little world view -- Accept Personal Responsibility.
Without a doubt in the world, it is Jessica's fault that she is late for school and no one else's. All year long, she has managed her waking and getting to bed schedule flawlessly. Last night, we played Boggle until 10pm and we both went to bed. She very rarely goes to bed before 10pm, so it isn't like she stayed up late or I kept her up late with the Boggle Action.
If she had come to me at 7:10, I may have been able to help her out. But at 7:20, when school is 20 minutes across town with morning traffic, honey. There ain't no thing can be done bout that.
She owns this mistake.
That is a sad thing to have to learn sometimes. For a kid who has been so incredibly dutiful and responsible, to drop the ball on a very important morning is crushing. I've been incredilby proud of her all year. Normally I walk out into the livingroom at 6:45 and there she sits with a book and her watch on her knee so she knows when it is 6:59 and can leave for the bus without being too early. I can hear my tenant's daughter running around upstairs throwing things, looking for her shoes at 6:59 most mornings, while my daughter quietly and calmly walks out the door. All year she's been just about perfect.
But this mistake...she owns it.
As a parent, I don't see the point in arguing with her teacher if she gets a zero... and I don't believe I will. She owns the grade as well. If that is his grading policy, she can have a good cry, but she needs to own it. Hopefully she embraces her mistake and lets it be a tattoo on her memory, and I'll be incredibly extra proud of her.
When she was in fifth or sixth grade she was out sick for most of a week. She had a science test that she needed to take at the end of the week, and even with the homework that was sent home for her, it wasn't enough knowledge for her to pull off a decent grade. She failed the test.
The teacher asked her if she wanted a little more time and a retake. She refused it. "That's the grade I earned, that's the grade I deserve." We tried to convince her that when a teacher gives you a gift of opportunity, of mulligan, of do-over, you should take it. She had a staunch personal belief that she got what she deserved.
We'll see how things go this afternoon. If she's that same person, or if she has a breakdown. If she has a breakdown -- all I can do is offer condolence and "life lesson learned" speeches, and offer to take her to a real tattoo parlor to get the zero tattooed to her ass.
On top of all this, she's got a voice audition today, and she's hopefully going to overcome this morning's blow and get in there and take care of it. I hope she didn't miss it by being late for school, because it was first period, and that was pretty much her only shot.
Send Jess some mojo today, will ya? I think she can use it. I can't make a teacher change a grade, one that we don't even know she's got yet, but I can send her good vibes, prayers, mojo and love from around the corners of the globe.
I just got email from her teacher saying she'll get full credit, no worries. Whew. I bet she'll be incredibly relieved.
Life's lesson learned.