We were sitting at the table after school. The girls were working on their homework, and I was there with them, rifling through paperwork (always. so much! The WORKSHEETS) and helping them as I needed (Saoirse, at third grade, already does her math more quickly than I check it. The cliche is real). Saoirse’s teacher asks parents to sign a behavior chart every day so we know how our child is behaving in class. Both girls are fascinated with these behavior charts–it seems like every teacher in their school uses one this year–and are even more fascinated with telling me how they work.Saoirse popped up out of her seat. “MOM,” she said. “You should totally have a chart for us here. See, this is how it works…” and she went on to describe this color-coded system where each child gets a pin that is moved up or down depending on their behavior. She went on some more–“you should totally do this, Mom!”–to explain how rewards and punishments work for each color the pin is on. A solid ten minutes later–“Mom? Can we do it? Can you make one of us?”–I finally dashed all of her hopes and dreams of ever thinking that I was organized enough to do something that involved daily maintenance. (I can’t even remember to feed the animals very day, y’all.* Behavior charts? HAHAHAHA.)
“Saoirse,” I said. I looked at both her and Quinlan, who, for some reason, had been a bit more quiet during her sister’s petition.
“But why not?”
“Seersh. I wasn’t that good at following through with a behavior chart even when I was a teacher and wanted to do it for my classes. I don’t want to do one at home. Besides, you guys are well-behaved kids. We don’t need one here.”Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Quinlan look down at the table for a moment. Then she took a long look at her sister. She turned to her brother, narrowing her eyes as she watched him play with a plastic dinosaur at the table, before she faced me again.
“Uh,” she said.