My daughter was attempting to do her math homework. She is now in the 5th grade. She was having a problem with dividing 2 digit numbers into 3 digit numbers. After a few attempts in much angst, tearful drama and for a minute I coulda’ swore I saw her whipping herself with a wet noodle – she proclaimed “I ca-aa-n’t do it!” She is truly headed for either an acting or a political career. Whenever she begins to be weepy I immediately become super calm to be able to make sure that I can help her go through this over the top behavior and get to the root of the drama and to help myself not lose my mind. Well, after I re-assured her that she could do the problems and in my best mommy-trying-not-to-laugh-voice, with just the right amount of care, I told her that I would help her, gather your homework and come into my room.
Blech! My daughter knows everything. At least that is what she believes. Every time we work on her homework, when I tell her how to solve a problem she always tells me that that is not right! What? I tell her it is. She tells me it is not. I tell her that if she knew how to do it, then she wouldn’t be asking me! She then says nuhu mom this is how Mr. P does it – her teacher. I then grab the pencil from her and take her paper and show her how to do the problem a-gain and she still insists that she knows. Now this is the same weeping 4 foot person that was just on the moaning bench! I then tell her to solve the problem the way she thinks and here we go again – tears and proclamations of “I ca-aa-n’t do it!” Ok, I say are you ready to let mommy show you how to do it? She relents. After doing the problem and walking her through each step of long division, she tries it. I realize that the crux of her dilemma begins with the fact that her knowledge of her multiplication facts is shallow. I ask her to pull out the multiplication table, as a guide to help her do the division. She does and after about 3 problems that we worked together – she had an epiphany and got it! Whew. As I went back into the bathroom to turn on the shower I looked at her and there she sat – pencil in hand, paper and multiplication tables crumpled on my bed – too cute and working the problems. Victory. And then another thought – who is crazier me or her? Me for debating with a 9 year old about a math problem.
The next morning when she woke up she told me that she had a scary dream. There was spider monkeys that were all black and they had 8 legs and 8 eyes and they were all sitting and saying 2 x 3 equals 6, 2 x 3 equals 6, 2 x 3 equals 6 and they scared her and she woke up. Well I told her she was dreaming about her multiplication tables. She said oh yeah. My daughter. Can you say retiring at 55 can’t come soon enough?