My 5th grader has an especially amazingly huge amount of homework this weekend, homework that his teacher intended the kids would have to do over the weekend - project work. And they knew full well the kids also have a second project for another subject due on Monday. Perfect.
So we have been hunkered in all weekend waiting for him to get his work done. I promised him fun activities outside of the house - like going to the local Halloween spooky thing if he got to a certain point toward completing his two projects by 7:00 last night.
Instead, he was overwhelmed and worked on it in slow motion, needing multiple breaks, one longer than the other. The truth is I needed a break from my job of enthusiastically urging him on. I really needed to get out of the house.
My daughter missed three days of school last week and had some make-up work to do, but was immersed in full-blown high school social drama and didn't get much of her work done either. Several times, I gave up on urging them on and giving them incentives and just left them to do it or not.
I went to my desk and worked on my novel. I wrote one chapter, and then another. In the meantime, my husband's car broke down at the grocery store. I rescued the food and my son while he waited for the tow truck and then the mechanic. I made a very ridiculously lame chicken nugget/mac-n-cheese dinner. After dinner, I got my energy back and cheered my kids on some more. I offered a game of Monopoly, our favorite, if they got done by a certain time - since the Halloween thing wasn't going to happen.
My son poked around and took forever finishing Project 1. My daughter played games on her iPod Touch instead of working on her ten pages of Honors History homework. I wanted to scream, so I walked away and finished two more chapters.
By 9:30, the kids were out of steam and begged to play Monopoly while doing homework. That sounds crazy, but a very good way to do homework is amid a game of Monopoly. They have to answer one question of their homework on each turn. It makes the homework seem like fun. In the case of my son, Project 2 involved creating and building a board game related to a novel they read in class - yes, in addition to the four novels he has to read this quarter at home. For each of his turns, he had to write down a question about the novel for the cards in his game.
By 11:00 (late for my middle son, but not for my teen), we were slap happy. I was the banker and was a bad one just like I was in college. Once I paid my son $200 when he wanted to buy a railroad instead of him paying the bank. Everything was hilarious, and at one point we laughed until we cried, but for my life I don't remember why and doubt it would be funny now.
At that point, we saved the game out of reach of my little guy so we can resume where we left off today. The kids went right to sleep.
I went back to my computer - and I finished it!
I wrote until 12:40. 59,000 words. It's done. I got through the middle. I may add one chapter, but it's a chapter that will stand on it's own and one that I've played out in my head enough to know I can write it today and then decide if it's in or out.
At 1:00 last night, I went downstairs to tell my husband the happy news. He was in the bathroom, super sick. I told him through the closed door, I was so excited.
At 2:40, my toddler screamed for me. He and his bed were covered in puke - lucky we had put a plastic bed liner on his bed. I was up until about 4:00 this morning with him, and a headache woke me up at 8:30.
I'm still excited I finished it, but life is definitely sucking the fun out of it today. I can't wait until my little guy's ready for a nap.
This morning, more than anything, I'm ready to jump back into novel number 2.