Apparently I tend to get a tad high strung during school hours. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that I have four children in four different grades and I like things to be perfect. But I could be wrong about that.
When they were younger it was necessary to supervise every child during every minute of school lest writing somehow morph into wrestling. As they've gotten older, however, I've noticed that I now have the luxury of actually leaving the room from time to time to tend to other pressing needs around the house. Like facebook.
Ever in need of control, I've developed a habit of preparing my children with very thorough instructions when I know that I will be out of the room for a few minutes. Even if it's only to use the bathroom. It goes something like this:
"Avery? Mommy has to go potty. I'll only be gone for a few minutes. So while I'm gone, you must stay in your seat and work diligently on your math page. Let's see if you can finish this row and this row before I get back. Do you understand? What did Mommy say?"
"Very good. Now, Aidan. I have to go to the bathroom. No guns. No Star Wars. Yes, you can still be Han Solo. But be a diligent Han Solo. Stay focused. I'd like you to be done with problem five when I get back."
The child nods.
(A brief word here about the phrase, "Work diligently." My children have heard me say this so many times that they are fully aware of its magical powers. My pixie has been know to croon, "Mommy? If I work very diligently while cleaning my room, may I please stay up a little bit past my bedtime?" Of course, my love. Diligence above all else.)
Well, this morning, after chugging my way through another glass of water, it became necessary for me to leave the room. I delivered my room-vacating speech with eloquence and clarity, convinced that everyone would be able to independently follow instructions for two-and-a-half minutes. (I've timed it.)
Upon my return, however, I did not find Miss Kate working diligently on her math page. I didn't even find Miss Kate. But I did find her math page. And across the top, a note hastily written above warped polygons:
Please stay calm. She's pooping.
Apparently children need to use the bathroom from time to time, too. This child anticipated my reaction and in a fit of desperation scrawled the excuse for her absence. One shouldn't be expected to draw polygons when experiencing uncomfortable pressure.
I was tactfully confronted with my tendency to run a very tight ship. So in an attempt to ease up on my burdened children, I've decided that I shall henceforth deliver a revised exit speech. A pooping clause is definitely in order.