There’s been a bigger, brighter smile on ol’ Sunnybuns’s face this week ... with the end of the school year having shone like a beacon at the end of that long dark tunnel, he is one happy little 7-year-old.
“Ma, I’m seven and a HALF!” he reminds me as he reads over my shoulder.
“OK, Nosy ... out!” I give him the hitch hiker thumb toward the door.
He slinks out, GI Joe in hand.
I was peeling potatoes the other night over the paper lined kitchen sink, when he wandered in and leaned against me. Glancing down at him, I knew by the look on his face that he had something to discuss. I waited a beat and said, “Whassup, Buttercup?”
“Mmmm ... I dunno ... just wonderin’...” he said, flipping his hand through the tater skins.
“Mmmm ... what’re we gonna do this summer?” i.e., “Am I getting an xBox 360 for my birthday?”
“Well, I have some plans .. .but I haven’t thought too far ahead. First thing though, you ARE going to have homework every day.”
I kept peeling, tensing myself for the ear-piercing wail I knew would follow.
He was quiet. Nodded his head.
“What am I gonna do for homework?”
Man ... this was too easy!
“I was thinkin’ we’d learn the 50 states and their capitals and learn all the presidents.”
Again, a nod.
“Also, we need to keep up with your math, because if we don’t, you’ll forget it all.”
I was waiting for the dark cloud to appear over his head, as it does mine whenever someone mentions math.
“I understand multiplication now, Ma,” as if to reassure me.
“That’s GOOD! We’ll just keep working on it so it sticks with ya!” I smiled encouragingly, not admitting that it was for MY sake more than his.
“And I know some of the presidents already,” he continued.
“Really? OK, tell me ... who was the first president?” I kept peeling, watching out for my fingers.
“That’s too easy! George Washington!”
“OK, and what is he famous for?”
“Uhhh ... he had wooden teeth!” Yes, my son the brainiac. He was well on his way to the College Bowl Ultimate Trivia Championship.
“OK, and what else...?” I asked, waiting patiently.
“Didn’t he chop down a cherry tree?” he asked back, quizzically.
“Mmmhmm ... and what did he USE to chop down the cherry tree?”
“BINGO, son! You’ve just re-written history! That’s excellent! But I said, ‘CHOP down’..not CHOMP down..” Looks like I’ll have to throw vocabulary into the summer mix, too.
“Let’s try another,” I said. “What’s five times three?”
I heard the tires come to a screeching halt in his little mind. I HAVE to ask math questions. I just have to. It’s the only way I know for sure he’s paid attention in class.
He looked up at me and rolled his eyes, “Geez, Ma, it’s 15! Can’t you do math?”
“Not without a calculator!”
He asked me, “What’s 10 million thousand times eight jigazillion?”
I put the peeler down and looked down at him, eyeball to eyeball.
“What’re you ... learning physics behind my back or somethin’?”
I picked up the peeler, “Exactly!”
“Ma, is my summer homework gonna be this easy?”
“I hope so. I just don’t want you to be as dumb as me, that’s why we’re doing it.”
“Ma, no way I could ever be as dumb as you,” he said with every flowery note from his heart.
I knew he didn’t realize what he’d said. At least, that’s what I was hoping.
He headed back down the hall toward his bedroom.
“Ma! Am I gettin’ an xBox 360 for my birthday?” he hollered at me.
“I don’t know,” I hollered back, “you gotta pass physics first!”
It’s gonna be a looonnnng summer.