Lara Schwartz

Stuff I think

Lara Schwartz

Lara Schwartz
Washington, District of Columbia, USA
December 24
Personal Capacity
Lara Schwartz lives in Washington, DC. She has been a civil rights advocate and political writer for long enough to have two ulcers.

NOVEMBER 15, 2010 8:43PM

Frequent prompting, or Of report cards and credit ratings

Rate: 2 Flag

 Put on your shoes.

Put on your shoes.

Put on your shoes.Shoes

Put. On. Yooooour.  Shoes.


There is a term for this:  “frequent prompting.”   That’s what the report card says. 

Work habits and social skills.  The following key is used:

I = independently

LP = with limited prompting

FP = with frequent prompting

R = Rarely.  

See, I think that this letter system is overly clinical and insufficiently evocative.  If I were in charge, the system would be:                

One shoe: My therapist has never heard of Max.                 

Two shoes: My therapist has heard of Maya only in passing, on the day that. . .                

Three shoes: Liam hid in his locker during a fire drill, while . . .                

Barefoot: Addie forever changed the way that I think about erasers, sexuality, and the class pet.  

See how much better that is? 

Throughout kindergarten, my child got a string of 10 FPs (performs task before teacher starts to cry) with two LPs (teacher does not grow hoarse until Thursday) in her very detailed report card. 

  • Did you know?  When I was in kindergarten, showing bladder control and training your palate not to crave Elmer’s glue was a pretty strong showing.   Not. No. More.

She earned those FPs and LPs.  And I briefly considered changing her name to “Frequent Prompting” because my saying her name too loudly—while prompting, frequently—reduced her to tears.  She’s a good kid.  Really.  When a person forgets to put their used toilet paper in the toilet, and said person walks out of the bathroom with her pants around her ankles, reading the book she’s got in one hand, and holding a urine-soaked piece of TP in the other—that person isn’t acting out.  That person is in deep need of frequent prompting.  And Purell.                

  • Did you know?  I’m not planning to donate any of her books.
  • Did you also know? Product placement opportunities are currently available at the Institute.  I’m talking to you, Johnson & Johnson.

After one quarter of first grade, my daughter apparently earned a report card with ten “I” marks and two “LP.”  One half hour after we brought it home, she took the (independent!) step of clearing the table without prompting.  By which I mean, she brought her snack plate and cup up to her room, followed by her play date companion, who carried his own plate up behind her, a quizzical look on his angelic face.

Why must I ridicule my kid?   

a.       It’s fun

b.      She doesn’t know about this blog

c.       She made me grow a jeans size and unleashed the force of gravity on my chin(s) and breasts

d.      All of the above

When she’s older, she’ll be better at ridiculing her mother.  I’m no different, but no one prompts me, frequently or otherwise.  This explains why Potomac Electric Power Co has on occasion needed to gently remind me of the fee that applies to their services.  I’d call myself a two-shoe customer.  That’s why I have a blog but haven’t put my clean laundry away this fiscal quarter.   I’d call myself a three-shoe housekeeper. 

Our children do not possess less initiative than us.  Only fewer obligations.  If my daughter doesn’t manage to get the book out of her hand and the clothes all of the way off for bath time, she misses 8:15 bedtime.  And gets 8:30 bedtime.  And sleeps for ELEVEN FRIGGIN’ HOURS, to be awakened gently, asked to dress and wash up, and given a choice of breakfasts prepared by someone else.  If I had that gig, I’d never listen at all.  You could prompt the living shit out of me and I’d stay in my pajamas until 7pm.  

  • Did you know? Sometimes I do that anyway.

This explains why at school, my child earns the vaunted “I,” grail of first grade achievement, while at home, the promptings roll on.  Frequently.  Gather ye rosebuds, kiddo.  Someday Pepco will be the only one there to remind you what you’re supposed to be doing.

Author tags:

family, comedy

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
Hilarious, brilliant and I need no prompting to rate this.~r