The Tooth Project

I'm a self-proclaimed procrastinator.  I think I always have been, but let me get back to you on that :-)
Seriously, I can remember writing a 12 page paper for AP English class and actually sitting down to write/type the paper around 7pm the night before it was due... I may have been up until 1 or 2am, but I still pulled out a great grade and felt justified in my procrastination.  I know this is not a good quality or one that I am proud of, but I find myself slipping back into the habit in many areas of my life. 

Now, with a bright little girl of my own, I'd like to put out any procrastinator flames that are burning in her mind/body.  I truly think my procrastination was fueled throughout my education because I quickly realized I could do well in a short amount of time... give me two weeks for a project and I could still pull off an A (sometimes an A+) in just a few hours.  My heart rate may have been slightly elevated during those few hours, but I got the job done and didn't *waste* days or weeks preparing for the project.  And, you rarely get points or kudos for turning something in early.  Of course, I need to revamp my justification for procrastination because I've got to be convincing if I'm going to teach Abby NOT to procrastinate.

And, boy, is it hard?  Today, her first *real* project was due for school - The Tooth Project.  We found out about 2 weeks ago that Abby would have this project.  Knowing that I would be out of town most of last week and Mike already had a lot of schoolwork on his plate (listen up kids...finish your college education the first time around...it's a lot harder when you grow up), I knew we'd be cutting it close to finish her project by today.  Add a family vacay for the weekend and the procrastinator genes kick into high gear.  In Abby's defense, she asked about the project over the past few days and kept reminding me about it.  But seriously, what can you do driving north on US 17 just over the state line?

Anyway, we finally got home around 6:30 last night.  We still hadn't eaten dinner (darn those delayed meals), so Abby and I made a quick run to WalMart.  (I rarely go to WalMart because the one in our neighborhood isn't very safe or appealing.  But, as a parent, sometimes you have to make sacrifices.)  Before we left the house, Abby made a list of the things she wanted represented on her project - fluoride toothpaste (so humbling for your six-year-old to correct your spelling of fluoride), toothbrush, mouthwash, floss and a tooth diagram.   I was immediately reminded that I don't visit WalMart very often because we had an awful time trying to find poster board.  We arrived home about an hour later with all the supplies in hand (and dinner...).

As a parent, it's hard to help your child with a project without *doing* the project.  As an anal-retentive, perfectionist parent, it's even harder.  If you don't know this yet for yourself, just trust me.  Really.  Trust me.  Abby decided where everything would go on her poster.  I drew the parts of the tooth for her and she proceeded to cut each section out and we glued it together.  She wrote the labels, title and byline.  She started laying yarn on each of the letters of the title.  Then, it was way past bedtime and she was getting a little testy.  I was getting a lot testy.  I decided it was best to just let her go to bed and I would finish up the little bits for her (finish the yarn title).  When everything was dry, I held it up for Mike and asked if her thought it was a 4? (Wake County grades students in grades K-5 on a scale of 1, 2, 3, 3*, 4...4 is like A++.)

And here is the end result:

2 comments:

Sues said...

I identify with every bit of this post!!! My own serious procratination b/c I know I can still pull it off at the last minute for an A(+), but not wanting my kids to fall into that pattern. And making myself take a minimal back seat role in Will's projects, instead of trying to "fix" them to perfection. :-P

Jamie said...

I am the "anal-retentive, perfectionist parent". I end up coming with all of the ideas and making the project. Vic's teachers think they are GREAT! I have had to learn to step back but it's very hard.

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