An update on the earlier post:
I'm sitting at the desk again, but this time my shoulders are shaking with laughter. It's sad, it is, but oh... let me tell you what I'm talking about.
Well, it's the essay writing thing. #1 Son had to do his homework at the dining table, where he got distracted by every little thing, including other people's homework. He did ask me for help on an essay at one point, and I think I helped clarify things for him. His biggest complaint (i.e., explanation for his behavior) is, "I can't think of anything!" As in, I can't think... at all... do my work for me! I had him read the assignment to me, and the questions he was to answer were extremely clear and detailed. I love that about his school. Maybe he needs more room for creativity, but he denies this. He did figure out what to do next, and he kept going.
Anyway. So later he remembered that "Mommy" will be calling back this evening in response to his request that she come help with some dissection next week in his very first class of the day. He called and asked her even after we figured out that, to do it, she'd have to leave her house before 5 a.m. that day. To be safe, closer to 4. He didn't see this as a problem. She said she'd think about it. So tonight she called back and he told her about the pink slip. He started crying again and went into his room to continue the conversation, which apparently was more of a tirade on her part.
After a while, he came out and (with a smirk!) handed over the phone to The Man (TM). Oh joy. I listened while folding the laundry. I wish I could repeat it word for word; even this end of the conversation was hilarious. The upshot of it was: No, eating more snacks wouldn't help #1 Son do better in school. He does the same stuff no matter whether it's first thing in the morning, right after lunch, or anytime else. Yes, he has the same chances at success as the other kids. More, actually; he's in a special writing tutorial several times a week where he can get help on his assignments. So, no, it's no one's fault but his own. Yes, glad to help.
#1 Son took the phone back, retreated to his room to cry and get yelled at some more. He eventually told her, "Look, I really need to get back to my homework now" (which I'm jumping up and down and cheering about on the inside), hung up, and got back to work. Good boy! I started helping TM with his homework. A few minutes later, the phone rang again. It's her, of course. She had time to talk it over with her husband or a friend or someone and had more to say.
Not long after, we heard #1 Son repeating "I'm a smart kid," (pause) "I can write well," (pause) "I can think up things to put in essays"... over and over in a monotone. I looked at TM in wide-eyed horror. "She's having him do affirmations!" I hissed. "What?" he asked. "You know, 'I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and...'" He finished for me: "And gosh-darn it, people like me!" We couldn't help it; we collapsed into hysterical laughter.
A moment later, #1 Son said (probably repeated, actually) in a suspicious tone, "What are you guys laughing at?" Well, TM had to explain that there was this guy Stuart Smalley on Saturday Night Live, and he was pretty funny... He didn't get into specifics, but it seemed to satisfy whichever of them was asking. We couldn't stop laughing for a long time after, though, at the idea that she was trying to help him get his assignments done by distracting him from his assignments to repeat this stuff over and over. Now I'm a really bad mother, aren't I? Oy.