Excuses G has given for not being able to do tonight's homework, an essay titled "My Favorite Birthday":
* "I can't choose my favorite birthday. I liked them all."
* "My hand hurts."
* "I'm cold. I have to get under a blanket."
* "There's not enough light." (Well, no, not under a blanket there isn't.)
* "I need to pet the cat first."
* "I have to scratch my head and my pen is in the hand I need to use."
* "I don't need to do homework because I have a really good memory." (After I explained that homework is supposed to be practice for what you learned in class.)
* "I've got a massive wedgie and I need you to fix it for me." (At this point I started laughing hysterically. In nearly 36 years of life, no one has ever asked me to extract their underpants from their butt until now.)
* "I have to go to the bathroom."
Obviously anyone who can think of this many reasons not to do an assignment should be able to crank out a few sentences about her favorite birthday without even trying. But it's been half an hour, and she's written exactly six words. Good grief.
Well, we reached a sort of resolution. After she came back from the bathroom, the struggle began again, with lots of sighing and moaning and complaining that she was too tired. At last I said "Okay, G, you don't have to do your homework if you don't want to."
"I don't?" Her voice was full of astonishment.
"No, you don't. But when you go to school tomorrow, you have to tell Mrs. K that you decided not to do it."
"All right," said G, totally unconcerned.
"And since you're too tired to do homework, you probably ought to go to bed right now."
She didn't like that idea nearly as much, but I herded her up the stairs and into her pajamas, and now at 8:26 she's in bed with the lights out. Hopefully next time she'll decide that doing her work is better than going to bed early. If not ... well, it's only two more weeks till summer vacation.