Setting: typical homeschooling morning. Kitchen table.
Baby E: "Mom, can we go to the park now?"
Me: "No. You know we have to finish math before we do anything at all today. Remember I told you that this morning?"
Baby E: "Can we do only half math? Can we have a light day of school? And then go to the park?"
Me: "No. We have to do a full day of school today. We had two field trips last week, and we have to get caught up. We don't, I don't, want to be doing school in June. Now, let's get this math going or else 6 PM will be here before we know it and we'll still be sitting here with this book open."
Baby E: "Can I have some skittles while I do my math?"
Me: "Absolutely no more sugar today. That's why you keep jumping in and out of your seat. Done. Sugar is done for today. No more sugar. And we have to eat lunch before we have any snacks, anyway. That's the rule."
Baby E: "Can you make pancakes for lunch?"
Me: " I already set up lunch for today, last night. We're all ready to eat as soon as you finish your math. No pancakes. Math, then lunch."
Baby E: "If I finish all my math, will you give me a prize?"
Me: "No. No--now, please, settle down, stay put, and let's get going on your math. And let's finish it."
Baby E: "Mom, can I just take a little break now? To get my wiggles out?"
Me: "Alright. Take a break ---but a quick one---and get your wiggles out. So that they're all out. Then, it's math. Math. And nothing but math. And I can hear you if you try to sneak into the skittles, so don't even try."
Sweet, sweet quiet ensues for the next 20 minutes.
Me: "Alright, honey. Time to get back at it..."
Baby E: "Mom. Look. I made a new comic strip. I'm using you as the model for the super villain. His name is Phantasmo, and he's the ruler of good mixed with evil. See, he's saying, "I must do what I must do..." His cape is a flaming skull and cross bones, like a pirate ship.
This is you coming...the flaming skull and cross bones that's on fire in the sky.
I'm drawing a moustache on you...I mean him."
Me: "You know what? I think skittles at the park sounds like a great idea right about now...let's go. We can double up on math tomorrow."