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Back to school. Sorry about the tuna.


Good morning!

Wake up! Come on. Up. Get up. Feet on the floor. I’m counting to 10. No, you don’t. No, I’m not checking. Because you don’t. OK, fine. No. You don’t have a fever. Yes, I’m sure.

Hurry up. Did you fall asleep in there? 

Don’t forget your lunch. It’s on the counter. No, it’s tuna. You like tuna. Well you liked it last year. Yes, you did. OK, I’m very sorry. After today, no more tuna.

Nope, no waffles this morning. There’s cereal on the table. Well, you liked it yesterday. Let’s go. Carpool will be here in
11 minutes.  Mrs. Adelstein does not wait.

Do you have your backpack? Did you take all your books? Really? Then what is this pile of books on the floor?  Don’t forget your lunch. It’s still on the counter. No, you can’t take the dog to school. You had homework? Why are you only telling me now? What do you want me to do about it?

Well, if he punches you, then just punch him back. No, don’t do that. Just tell on him. Your carpool is here. Now. She’s here. Hear that? She’s honking.

Sorry, Mrs. Adelstein! Just one second!

Did you take your lunch? No, you don’t have a fever. I’m not having this conversation again. You’re going to school. She’s going to leave without you. OK. Have a good day. I love you.

Wait! Your lunch!

*   *   *

Hi. Is everything OK? Why are you calling me from school? What? No. I don’t care that Jeremy gets to have a cellphone. I’m not getting you one. Yes, you have a birthday coming up next year. Still no.

*   *   *

Welcome home! How was school? Hello? Please turn off the TV. How was school? Put down the tablet. How was school? What does that mean? Does that mean “good” or “bad”? You can have a fruit or a vegetable. It’s dinner soon. What homework do you have? I don’t believe you. Nope. You don’t have any math homework? Nothing to read? That counts. That’s homework. Yes, even if the book is stupid. Even if no one else is doing it. Put that back – I said a fruit or a vegetable. It’s dinner soon. Go get your books. Homework time. No, zero more minutes. Let’s go.

I thought I said no screens. Turn it off. Really? Why do you need it? Let me see. This isn’t your homework. Throwing ninja stars at – is that a Zombie Leprechaun? With a shotgun? That’s not homework. You can have it back after dinner – if you finish your homework. You were not just taking a break. I know. I’m the worst. I’m sorry, but you’re stuck with the parents you get. Well, good for all your friends, but that’s not the rule in our house. I’m not doing your homework for you. And no more Zombie Leprechaun games.

No, this is “all there is” for dinner. I’m sorry that you don’t like it. No, you cannot be excused. No screens at the table. It’s rude. I know, and we shouldn’t be doing it either. Everyone’s putting their phones and screens away. This is family time.

Where are you going? You barely ate anything. Are you at least doing your homework? I can hear the TV. Get back down here. No, zero more minutes.

I’ll help you as soon as I finish making your lunch for tomorrow. Cream cheese. I thought you hated tuna. You did. This morning.

Bedtime in 15 minutes. Bedtime in five minutes. It’s bedtime. No, it’s your bedtime. I’m not having this argument. It was your bedtime 10 minutes ago. It’s a school night. No, you can’t. We’ll DVR it. I know your friends get to stay up until midnight. I’m sorry we’re so strict. It’s 20 minutes past your bedtime. It’s 30 minutes past your bedtime. No, you don’t have a fever. Yes I’m sure. Good night. See you in the morning. 

Wry Bread is a satire column from A. David Levine. Follow him on Twitter here.

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