“Why does it matter?” he asks.
“Why do you care?” the other chimes in.
“They don’t care when we do it!” the first jumps back in.
“It’s because you’re a teacher and you’re going to make us do stuff that no one else does. Can you not?” the oldest joins in with an edge of frustration.
“Can I speak now?” I ask. They exchange glances across the table.
“Sure,” they mumble.
“Here is what I want and expect. You will wake up at a reasonable hour. You will get all your work done before you touch the Playstation or Xbox. All work will be done and done well before dinner. You will each bring the dog on a walk during the day. How does that work for you?” I sit back in my chair, holding my breath.
They lift their eyes from their dinners. A silent agreement passes between them.
“How early is ‘reasonable’? the oldest asks.
“I’ll let you decide.” I respond and stand up to bring my dish to the sink. They sit together for a few minutes longer. Eyes make their way to their father. He shrugs. They know and he knows, this is my territory and they haven’t got a shot in pulling him in.
No other words are spoken, but here I am. 10:00 AM. Day one of distance learning for my boys. They are both awake. The youngest has completed three of his six assignments. The eldest in laying on the rug snuggling his dog. I am calling this a victory.