Observations by Key Monroe~~Home of Right Opinions, Cynical Viewpoints, and TMI in Hefty Doses
|E-mail: keymonroe [at] alltel [dot] net

January 10, 2005

A Different Argument

And I've been advised by those who know and love me not to go here, but as I find myself writing the same thing over and over in response to personal emails, I thought I'd save myself some time.

Yes, the NCLB Act post went a bit awry. I included a number that ended up being a figure of mass distraction, and the argument somehow evolved into convincing me that 13 tardies is a problem.

Okay, I knew that already. There's no fight there.

And I understand that some parents are to blame for these things. But for some reason, I assumed that my friends and readers knew me well enough to know better. I mean, come on, it's my fault ya think I'm gonna post on it?

I don't advertise my shortcomings. I'm a better marketer than that. Give me a little credit.

But in response to concerned inquiries, I gave up the following:

Here is a breakdown of the 13 tardies to the best of my recollection:

Late because Mom was running late - twice (This is why I don't drive in the morning. Her dad does, and he's a punctual freak. I wrote a note accepting responsibility each of these times, particularly since one of these two times I was sick as a dog.)

Late because Miss Priss HATED everything in her closet, was fighting with her best friend, hadn't finished a homework assignment she hadn't told us about until THAT morning, or otherwise stalling to go to school - five times

A series of dental visits that I THOUGHT made sense to schedule first thing, and assumed they'd be excused and wouldn't count against her. - four times

Dr appts, same story. - two times

That is not a justification, nor a life habit which I endorse, nor an invitation for a critique. It's just life, and sometimes it'll get in the way of even the best intentions.

And yes, the goal is punctuality. And there are a couple of points here. The first is that it would help if a distinction were drawn between excused and unexcused tardies.

Here's how it worked when I was a kid, and for some reason I assumed today was no different:

EXCUSED tardy - As a child, this was a glory dance. This meant that it was not my fault. My mother walked inside the school, signed me in, and provided either a doctor's note, or her own personal note explaining that I was late through no fault of my own. These did not count against my total number of tardies.

UNEXCUSED tardy - The shame... I was dropped with no note, no explanation, without which it was my fault by default. I sat out of recess until I could write "I will not be late to school" 25 times. And if a child is late because they are dragging ass or being an ass, this is exactly what they should be doing. Double jeopardy in fact, as in her case, it will be disciplined at home as well.

Having said that, the second point is that there will always be a difference of opinion as to how to prioritize within the home. For example, if Miss Priss is having a horrible morning (emotional as opposed to attitudinal), and in her eight year old mind, she is convinced that waiting for her at that school is the crisis of her life, I'm going to sit down with her until she's calm. She'll be late as a result. I won't give a shit. I'm a mom first, and I won't apologize for that. She usually loves school, and bops out early no problem, so this behavior is out of character. And yeah, if tardies were excusable these days, I'd write a note saying that she was ill that morning.

The husband, on the other hand, does not see tears as a hindrance to punctuality, nor does he draw a distinction between spoiled brat tears and tears of overwhelming anxiety. If there's nothin' broken, get your ass in gear. He is not ashamed of this mentality, and like so many who fit the description, will be happy to tell you as much.

And I'm not glorifying my position or dogging his. This is just the way it is, and the balance is probably good, even if neither of us can appreciate it at the time.

But I'm glad that I have compassion in that area, particularly since I am not a terribly compassionate person; I just have a soft spot for children, particularly mine. I also remember the social stresses of school, and they in no way compare the social stresses of the workplace. The latter is a walk in the park relatively speaking, and I can, and likely will write a post on that issue alone.

Meanwhile, this issue is fatigued. It's going to bed.

(How the blog opera ended? Heh, I knew some of you rubbahneckahs were only coming back to see if Acidman and I were done fightin'. We are. Sorry, we're getting too old for this. We're spent. We've agreed to disagree regarding the punctuality obsession, and I fully realize that he'll come down on the side of my husband given the situation mentioned above. And that is fine. I think they're both freaks. Heh. Only kidding, it is an admirable personality trait. I will give him that. Having said that, GAWD I hope he's late to the next meet! There will be no end to that hell...)

posted by Key on 04:48 PM | Comments (12)
ยป Inblognito links with: Work

I know i'm late to this, but as a mom, I just had to express my support for you. I'm a working mom. At present, I'm raising 2 kids, an 11 year old, and a 6 year old. Six months ago, we also took on raising my 10 year old niece. A month ago, her 16 year old brother moved in.

We've got a house full of kids and more than full-time jobs.

So, we've been tardy several times in the last 6 months. Sue me.

It happens. Life happens.

But, that shyte about the doctor/dentist appointments is REALLY what gets on my last good nerve.

Back when I was a kid, all my mom had to do was say that we had an appointment, and all was excused. All she had to do was write a note.

But not today. Oh, no. Parents can't be trusted to make decisions that are in the best interests of their children. So, mommies and daddies like you and I can't just take them to appointments, but we must bring a note to excuse their tardy.

I refuse. I flat out refuse. I refuse to be treated like some sort of irresponsible parental retard who can't be trusted. So, my kids each have unexcused tardies and absences for going to the doctor/dentist.

Screw em.


Posted by: catzmeow at January 10, 2005 05:00 PM

catz: hell yeah!

Posted by: jessica at January 10, 2005 05:43 PM

Key, this is your own little piece of the world into which you can pour out any and all thoughts and feelings that may arise.

No explanation, nay justification, for those thoughts/feelings/posts are required.

I just feel badly that you became the target of so many, for so little.

Posted by: jmflynny at January 10, 2005 05:47 PM

I appreciate that Flynny, and I thought about that, which accounts for the hesitation to revisit the topic.

But I posted this cuz I wanted to.

(And Catz, I can't even get these things striked WITH a doctor's note!)

Posted by: Key at January 10, 2005 06:19 PM

I am always on time or early unless I am intentionally f**king with someone. That happens more than you might think. I give the message, they get it, hopefully. But I have the luxury of not being responsible getting the chirren to school, too. I'd have them 5 minutes late every day just to screw with a gummint school bureaucrat.

Posted by: Velociman at January 10, 2005 07:13 PM

I agree with the flynnster. I dont think you owe anyone on your friggin blog an explanation for anything you do or anything you choose to post about.

Posted by: Mr. Helpful at January 10, 2005 07:40 PM

I, too, am one of those psychotically punctual people. I hate to admit it, but I am - it was drilled into my by my father, with an iron drillbit. However, when one has little kids, sometimes shit happens. You can drag them kicking and screaming out of the house well before you need to be on the road - and STILL be late, because some dumb fucker on a tractor is pooting down the road at the height of rush hour. Or you have to go back inside and change because the baby just vomited all over you. Or you get all the way to school and your kid forgot her science paper and will get an F on a major project if you don't go back and get it. Which would you pick? An F on a grade, or a tardy? I'll take TARDY for 1000, Alex - because it's the actual education part of school that comes first.

Anyway. Shit happens with little kids in tow. Even my on-time-or-die ass has had to, on occasion, just let it go, or go mad with frustration. It's part of being a parent.

Posted by: Queenie at January 10, 2005 07:41 PM

"But I posted this cuz I wanted to."

That's the only reason you need!

Posted by: jmflynny at January 10, 2005 08:19 PM

Flynny, I am slack. I can't believe I didn't roll you when I rolled Dash!

I'm goin... Give me 48 hours. I'm thinking the dreaded serious overhaul this time. I may even *gulp* remove Bejus. I don't think he's coming back this time. :(

Posted by: Key at January 10, 2005 08:33 PM

Key, the only thing I can suggest is that you talk to your school superintendent. This is NOT a national policy. My kids' school certainly has never called me on the carpet for them being tardy, so I suspect this is a LOCAL INTERPRETATION of national guidance.

Most schools have site-based management. It's entirely possible that this was a decision by the school administration at your local school as a result of a mandate that came down from their district to reduce tardies and absenteeism.

The problem is that they are going about this the wrong way...THey're doing it like the frigging IRS. Thousands of people in the U.S. pay no income taxes at all, they don't even bother to file. Does the IRS hassle them? Maybe, very very rarely if they get some sort of tip that this person isn't paying.

Mostly, they hassle the rest of us who go to the trouble of actually trying to do the right thing and pay our taxes.

There really are parents out there who don't give a rat's ass if their kid is in school or not. I know this because I work with them for a living.

But you and I aren't those parents. However, those parents are much harder to motivate than we are. So, the school is, to put it bluntly, fugging with you because THEY CAN. You'll take it and perhaps even do something about it.

I doubt they are wasting this much time and energy on the parents of the chronic truants. I'd seriously, again, suggest a phone call to your superintendent about this fugged up policy.

Tell him to do his job and actually prosecute the parents of chronic truants versus hassling the folks who are actually trying to be good parents.


Posted by: catzmeow at January 11, 2005 09:46 AM

Just to add my two cents...I would be on the side of your spousal unit on this one....BUT....having a few years of marital experience (yeah, I am on wife #2 right now, just means a wider *variety* of experience..so there), I think you may have hit on a valid point....that you feel one way and the hubby is in the other camp...is in and of itself, not a bad thing...the kidlet needs to see balance and traditionally "the mom" was the comfort zone, and "the dad" was the "if it ain't broke or bleeding" you'd better get your butt in gear and make it to school...things are all black or white...and ...well, you know, "the dad". I got a feeling you two will raise one hell of a good kid there. I remember the excused and unexcused absences too...it helps when you are *tight* with the attendance lady in the office.

Posted by: Guy S. at January 11, 2005 01:10 PM

At the risk of sounding like I've had more Scotch than I really have this evening, I have one simple thing to say to you: Fuck 'em all... you don't need to justify a damn thing to those who know you, and to those who don't, tell them to take a good look, because you are you who are, and if they don't like it, they can go to Hell without the benefit of an apology from you or a handbasket.

And that is MY $0.02... not that I'm as conservative as you, but I'm too old to deal with the shit that other people try to impose on me.

Posted by: Jack at January 12, 2005 03:37 PM
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