Did you ever see The Kids in the Hall where the magician asks someone to pick a card, any card and that person says: no. And then the assistant shrieks, "Evil, evil, impolite and evil!"
Because the social contract states that one generally goes along with things. You don't say 'no' to pick a card (seven of diamonds.) Or knock knock (who's there.) Or I am breaking up with you (ok) or (I see) or (wailey wailey wailey.)
So when I ran into Edward's teacher today and she told me that Edward isn't doing his writing assignments I just sort of blinked. What did she mean: isn't doing? How does that work? What does he do during writing time then, just... sit there all spacey?
No, she said. No no no, not spacey. She's seen spacey and that's not it. Edward, she reported, looks like he is very deep in thought. He looks at the paper and he twirls his pencil and he... thinks.
Well, thought is good, I said. People ought to think more before they write things. Take the comment section of every single place on the internet except right here, for example. It'd do everyone a world of good to sit there and think very very deeply before trying to stuff a political argument into an article on the best way to remove gum from hair.
Yes, she agreed, but at the end of all of his thinking he still does not have anything written.
Ah, I said. Well, that's a problem.
She agreed again and asked me to think about ways to motivate him and I said I would.
But to be honest with you it's so far outside of my experience, both personal and as a parent, that I don't even know where to begin. A teacher tells you to do something and you at least take a stab at it, right? I once missed the entire semester of 14th century French cultural history (things kept coming up - I meant to go) and I admit that I was nonplussed when I sat down for the final but I tried. I picked up my blue book and I licked my quill and I proceeded to fill page after page with everything I knew or thought I knew or could make up about France, culture, the fourteenth century, the thirteenth century, butter, monasteries, the plague, Erasmus... and while my answers bore only the most tangential of relationships to the questions asked, at least I didn't hand in completely blank pages. Which seems to be what Edward is doing.
On the plus side - on the very very plus side - Edward likes his teacher, he likes his school, he has friends, he seems appropriately challenged and when I stop the car in the morning he gets out and walks into the building without needing to be pried off my bumper. It's all good.
And in his defense he has been doing occupational therapy for two years to help with the very same small motor skills that make printing a misery for him. He has improved tremendously but writing is still hard for him. I know that.
But to just... not do it? Like I said. I am baffled.