Charlotte has homework most weeknights. Usually it's a math worksheet, or sometimes writing or vocabulary words to work on. Last night's had two dot-to-dot pictures to help her work on sequencing numbers 1 to 20. She dutifully connected the dots (though she did get caught up in the pattern at the end instead of paying attention to the numbers).
Instead of putting her homework back into the red folder that all the kids use to carry papers back and forth to school, she left her worksheet on the kitchen table, next to her pencil. That's where Trystan found it. And decided to try his hand at dot-to-dots. Except he ignored the dots and just drew lines all over the paper.
My husband and I didn't catch it until this morning when we were rounding up backpacks and lunchboxes for school. There was no time (and no eraser in the house big enough) to clean it off and have her start it over. My husband wrote a note, and sent it along to school as it was--you could at least see Charlotte's work underneath Trystan's scribbles.
Charlotte wasn't concerned in the least about the problem, so I had to gently explain that it was her responsibility to make sure her homework went back into her red folder every night. Mommy and Daddy would help, but it was her job to ensure that Trystan didn't ruin her homework.
For good measure, I told Trystan not to color on his sister's homework. I'm not sure that message will sink in for another two or three years. He flashed me what I call his cherub smile at me--that innocent-looking, wide-eyed baby smile that gets him out of so much trouble. The one that means he understands exactly what I'm telling him and just how much mischief he's causing.