My daughter came home from seventh grade and told me that the math teacher wanted to place her in advanced math. She respectfully declined, saying, “No, thanks, my mom can’t do advanced math.”
It’s true that I help Emma with her homework. I started helping her when it became apparent that without me she wouldn’t do it at all. And, to be truthful, I have to admit that a little part of me likes doing homework with her. It gives me a chance to learn all the things I missed the first time around. (I can actually do fractions now!)
Sometimes, though, I think Emma wishes she had a mom that wasn’t so hands-on. Like the time in second grade where I helped her make a poster when they were studying ocean animals. Emma decided she wanted to study the Great White Shark.
I spent days and days thinking up how to do the poster and gathering the needed supplies. I cut the poster board to look like a shark had taken a giant bite out of it. It had tooth marks and everything. The bite not only took a chunk out of the poster board, but also took a chunk out of the penguin I had painted on the front. I used lots of red paint to depict the bloody decapitation.
Emma participated by watching the whole thing and helping to smear the “blood” around the ocean. She also did the clean-up.
A week later, Emma came home from school in tears. She blubbered, “I got a D on the shark poster.”
Enraged, I stormed the school, demanding to talk to the second grade teacher. “Really, a D?” I said. “Why did she make a D?”
“Emma’s poster was very creative. And bloody. It was voted most popular by the other students.”
“So what was the problem? Why a D?”
“She didn’t follow the directions.”
“What directions?” I asked.
The teacher said, “The sheet of paper I sent home. She was supposed to list five characteristics of her chosen animal. Also, she was supposed to list its size, where it lived, what it ate –“
I interrupted her, “Those were directions? I thought they were suggestions!”
The teacher smiled. “No, they were directions. Not to mention, Great Whites don’t live in the Antarctic where obviously that penguin and the iceberg are.”
“Pssshaw,” I said, flapping my hand at her, “details, details. Doesn’t she get a higher grade for being creative?”
“I took that into consideration. Hence, the D.”
Ouch. That hurt. I made a D in the second grade. I cried all the way home. Emma hugged me. “It’s okay, mom,” she said. “It won’t show up on my college transcript.”
“We’ll do better next time,” I said, wiping away my tears. “That teacher was just a meanie. Don’t worry, next time we’ll make an A.”
“Listen, about that next time. Do you think maybe I can do my own homework from now on?”
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“If Buster Keaton and Red Skelton had a love child that was a lesbian romance, it would be this book!” ~JA