I’m so afraid of seeing the first report card Sunnybuns brings home from fourth grade.
I had to sit down and go over math homework tonight. Four pages of workbook stuff that I couldn’t use a calculator for.
My memory has been tested with trying to remember the multiplication table, which is why I keep a cheat sheet magnetized to the fridge. I still use my fingers to count, and sometimes have to walk away if it’s more than double digit multiplication. Gotta have some breathing room. Give my brain some time to catch up.
There was a timeline on one of the pages of tonight’s homework ... an outline of a school day. After I sat there for 20 minutes diligently trying to piece the puzzle together, I noticed that Einstein was busy playing with a little rubber skeleton a buddy had given him.
“Hey, Brainiac, come over here and do your work,” I instructed, running my hand through the tired hairs on my head.
He looked at the page and said, “I can’t.”
“Why not? If I can do it, I know you can do it.”
We’re both good at word scrambles, jumbles, word searches, reworking song lyrics, but put a number in the mix and our brains turn to oatmeal.
It’s like all of a sudden going from a professional power ride on the Tour de France to pedaling a bike with training wheels and a card stuck in the spokes.
N u m b e r s ... n o t m y f o r t e ....
I have five brothers who were totally genius at math. Sis was pretty good, too. I barely made it through consumer’s math. Flunked Algebra 1 twice. I remember being in the ninth grade, sitting at the dining room table while everyone else was drifting off to bed, stuck over some freakin’ algebra problem.
My brother Dennis, who was home on a break from Georgia Tech, sidled up to me and went over the problem, working it out, showing it to me several times.
I felt like my brain was doing a taffy pull.
The inside of my head must’ve looked like a lava lamp.
After the fifth attempt at trying to get me to see the simplicity of the equation, I just let my mind rest and cried.
He patted my head, explained to my dad that I did not possess the genetic genius the rest of them had, and went to bed.
I closed the book and decided it just wasn’t worth crying over.
The next week I was told to report to General Math class. Addition! Subtraction! Multiplication! Division! Answers in the back of the book!
Pull me up a chair, mister, I’m in!
So I’m sitting there, staring at this fourth grade workbook while my son launched off into one of his many stories that had nothing to do with the task at hand.
He danced around the kitchen, doing the Elvis Presley pelvic pop (which he is surprisingly good at), talked about the lame rules at school for the Halloween costume parade — they’re taking away anything that looks like fake blood, no masks, no fake weapons of any kind — they might as well all go wearing diapers. That’s what’s happened because some jerks thought bringing weapons to school would be cool. They’ve scared the dogcrap out of educators and taken all the fun out of it.
I sat there watching him, listening to him, getting irritated because it was being drawn out and I wanted him to sit down and just do the work. I didn’t want to have to start barking orders and blowing my beeyotch whistle at him, so I let him go and get the wind out of his sails.
He got himself a drink — talking - pulled out the ice cream — talking — did some karate moves — talking — I could feel my hair getting grayer by the second - talking...
I finally tapped the workbook and he sat down.
I showed him how to do the first problem.
He laid his head down on his arm, trying to see from a flat level.
“That won’t work,” I admonished, “you have to be sitting up to get the full picture.”
He sat up and I explained again, noticing his eyes drifting toward the ceiling.
I handed him the pencil and told him to figure it out.
He worked it out on a scratch piece of paper and came up with the answer, but I’m still not sure how he did it. He tried to explain it to me, but I still didn’t get it. I looked at him, he looked at me. I felt the lava lamp go “bloo-oo-oppp.”
Finally he rolled his eyes and said, “Duh, Mom...”