Tornado wrangling

Busy day. The morning was basically like being in one of those money booths where you try to grab dollar bills being swept around by a fan, but instead of cash (which would have been way more fun) it was 4 straight hours of low-flying tasks, requests, correspondences, activities and updates, all of which needed to be snagged out of the air as they flew past my head at a high rate of speed and wrestled into whatever niche of doneness was required. Rather like a task-based version of “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” as played in a tornado.

And this afternoon I spent my time trying out some new “positive discipline” tactics – for example, offering defined choices under a defined deadline, without lectures, nagging or other power struggles, and then letting the kid make the choice. No allowances for “alternative” choices. You pick A or B, and you’ve got 5 minutes to do so or the result is C. And no, D is not one of the choices. But it’s your choice.

And I’ll be damned if it didn’t work, on our own little version of a high-speed tornado! Not easily or smoothly by any means, but it worked. The kid I was working with did their reading assignment with only minimal sulking and dragging, especially when it became clear that I wasn’t going to be dragged into an entertaining negotiation of compromises in order to get him to do it (the alternative was to go home and face the Wrath of Mom, my position being that since the point of homework club is to do your homework, if you’re not going to do homework, well, buh’bye. Not a fun choice but a choice none the less.) A or B. Period. No watching Soni’s head spin while you run circles around her trying to wheel and deal, no pleading, no warning, no punishing no nothing. Just A or B and what’s it gonna be?

Turns out it was A. Read for the allotted time. The book was read in a series of funny voices, accompanied by random physical synchopation and percussion combinations of floor, furniture, feet and hands. But it was read. All the way through.

So, on top of yesterday’s math win, I got in a reading win today! Special. I’m just tingly all over. Of course, that could be the Autumn chill, but I’ll take it.

On the downside, another student had fraction homework. Let’s just not go there. The best I could do was wish him luck and hope someone at home knows how to do it, because I never could manage anything beyond the simplest fraction math. Which sucks, because I’m supposed to be helping them. *sigh*

After homework club, I dropped in on the Women’s Expo event going on downtown. A few plastic tasting cups of wine and champagne later, I’ve got my shmooze groove working and I’m making friends and building contacts. Got the okay from a local free paper to send in an article on the homework clubs (we’re getting some more sign-up – we desperately need volunteers). Got a bag full of kid-friendly goodies from a local imprint novelty goods store to show around to my colleagues as examples of what this guy can get us cheaply. Practiced my “cold call” technique of walking up to perfect strangers and starting up conversations that actually go somewhere. I just love doing that. Each person is like a little fun-filled grab bag from the fair – you never know what’s inside, but it’s always guaranteed to be worth looking.

So, afterward the hubster and I walked around in the light rain for a bit to work off the lingering remains of the tastings before heading home, enjoying the window shopping, having one of our “deep” conversations and smelling the good smells of a vibrant downtown full of esoteric shops, fragrant visitors and gourmet eateries. *happysigh*

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