Write so large that only one word fits on your entire worksheet, making your parent clench their fist tightly.

How to Punish Your Parents for Choosing The Distance Learning Option

By Brandy Ferner

–  Itch your buns every time your parent dares to help you clarify the directions of an assignment. Your buns don’t actually itch, but they will if you scratch them with enough vigor.

–   Squirm like you’ve taken a time machine back to the set of Fear Factor circa 2003 and are in a coffin filled with maggots whenever your parent suggests any edits in your paragraph about sea turtles. The goal is to noodle so recklessly across the table that you knock your juice cup over, ruining at least two irreplaceable things.

–  Throw yourself into a headstand between each spelling word your parent quizzes you on. Take care to hit at least one of your flailing limbs on the corner of your shiplapped coffee table so that crying derails learning.

–  Insist your parent listen to you count to one hundred, but right when you hit the nineties, blow your nose with great urgency, necessitating a restart. Make sure to use a scratchy paper towel instead of a soft tissue. Parents hate that, which means you must.

–  Touch the pencil lead in as many ways as possible while your parent offers several perfect ideas for your essay’s opening sentence. Tap the pencil with the tip of your finger, drive it in the palm of your hand, suck on it, stab it into the couch or your baby brother’s thorax. Whatever it takes to necessitate getting (and sharpening) a brand new pencil often.

–  Write so large that only one word fits on your entire worksheet, making your parent clench their fist tightly. When your parent recommends you erase and try again, go ahead and consent, but erase so lightly that the giant letters remain. Repeat until the paper tears and the fist slams on the table.

–  Ask for leftover Halloween candy until you turn learning to read into a hostage situation. Don’t back down. Up the ask. They said no to one piece of candy? Now you want all of it and will not sound out the word “going” until you get it.

–  Cough uncontrollably instead of coloring that United States map. Making yourself vomit gets the point across even better.

–  Erase the entire God forsaken page of math facts you just completed even though your parent only pointed out one tiny mistake. When they ask you through gritted teeth why you did that, stare off into the abyss and mumble, “Why does anyone do anything, Jim?”

–  Stare intently at your hand while harnessing the power of telekinesis to disengage the muscle from the bones, rendering your fingers unable to grip the pencil. Flaccid mitts make word problems deliciously impossible and parents regret their pandemic choices.

–  Switch to pen while doing math facts, but don’t leave your seat to get it. While your defeated parent shakes their head and looks down at their phone, slide your soul out of that tiny meat suit, float it over to the pen drawer and quickly return so that your parent is aghast at how you are somehow now holding a pen instead of a pencil, but never left their side. Purposefully write wrong answers in ink so erasing is futile.

–  Write the number nine as the letter “P” even though you’ve known the difference between them for three years. When the error is pointed out, also feign mixing up lowercase “b” and “d” while you watch your parent snap your pencil before launching themselves out the second-story window.

–  Screech incoherently.



About the Author

Brandy is a mother, wife, author, and the creator of the Adult Conversation podcast, social media pages, and blog. Her debut book, “Adult Conversation: A Novel,” just published in May 2020 and is a darkly comedic look at modern motherhood where the main character seeks an answer to the question, “Is motherhood broken, or am I?” Her writing has also been featured in Good Morning America, and at The New York Times, HuffPost, Romper, and more. She currently lives in Southern California, and her love language is sleep. Check out her website, Facebook, and Instagram.