All posts by Emily

Modern Math

Math session with a 1st grader…

Me: “Ok, so we’re going to do some fun math problems today, all involving ducks! Because I know how much you love birds. The questions are going to start off super easy, but they build off each other and become more challenging as we go.”

Kid: “Ok.”

Me: “So first question– there are three ducks. Each duck is 1 foot in length. If the three ducks go swimming together in a line, beak to tail, how long is the duck-line?”

Kid: “Wait, so each duck is ONE foot long?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “And there are THREE of them?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “Ok let me think.” (starts whisper counting to himself, goes way past 3)

Me: “Woah woah, you’re already counting too high. There are only THREE ducks.”

Kid: “I know I know…” (keeps counting, now silently, but keeping track on fingers)

Me: “This is supposed to the super-easy first problem, it doesn’t really require finger counting.”

Kid: “I’ve almost got it, hold on.”

Me: “Ok I’m trying to help you but you’re not listen—”

Kid: “Shh shhh wait let me finish.”

Me: img_1179-1

Kid (finally): “15! The answer is 15 feet.” (crosses arms, super proud of self)

Me: “What? No. Not even close. There are only 3 ducks and they are each ONE foot!”

Kid: “Yeah but you gotta have 6 feet between each duck or they’ll all get corona.”

giphy-1

I’ll Consider It

“Hey, so,” (clears throat, clearly nervous) “I was thinking…and I know this is a little audacious of me to ask, but– would you please consider getting pregnant again? Like, immediately? It’s just– the last time you were pregnant, well, those 9 months were pretty great for me. I finally got to relax and kick my feet up for a bit, you know? Rejuvenate. Catch my breath. Felt like my normal, healthy self again.  But I’ve just really been working on overdrive since then. And now with the pandemic and your anxiety and everything…I’m just struggling to keep my head above water here. So you’ll consider it? Pregnancy? It’s really my only opportunity for a break. I know you need me to keep working hard, but I can’t keep going like this without some kind of respite. I’m not a wizard. And, um, I don’t mean for this to sound condescending but– you know you, like, NEED me in order to survive, right? Like I know you understand that in theory but it seems you don’t really follow through with it in daily practice. Ok ok sorry, my bad, I see I’m getting you worked up. I won’t get ahead of myself here. We don’t need to make any permanent life changes. I know that’s hard for you. Let’s just focus on my short-term, 9-month vacation for now, and maybe then down the line we can work on some longer-term goals. Cool?”

— My liver, to me

tenor-2

Don’t Worry, I Have a Plan

Friend: “So what’s your plan if school doesn’t open in the fall?”

Me: “Oh, don’t worry, we have like a million back-up plans for Nora’s schooling because yeah, the school we signed her up for already said it might not open. And they sent us a list of all these possible scenarios if they DO open, most of which involve distance learning, which would be pretty useless for her age. So we’ve totally thought this through and researched all these other schools so that we’re prepared and don’t end up getting screwed.  We really like [School #2] and they seem ready to open safely. And [School #3] will definitely have spots open should we wait until the last minute, because we’re hesitant to put a deposit down now for something that might become distance learning. And there’s this other school, [School #4], that’s smaller and lesser-known but actually seems pretty great so bottom line she’ll have lots of options, and we’ll be fine with wherever she goes, plus she’s at the age where we’re not worried about if she’s in like a top program or anything like that, you know? So regardless it’ll be fine, and I know she’ll love wherever she is because she’s super social and energetic so she’ll just be happy to finally get out of the house and be around other kids and added bonus I REALLY need the break!”

Friend: “No, that’s not what I meant. I meant what’s your plan if NO schools open in the fall?”

Me: “Oooooh! Oh oh oh oh.”

(pause)

Me: “Kill myself.”

 

 

Already Proud of My Kid’s Choices

Most little girls are obsessed with the conventionally beautiful, super-feminine, fairly one-dimensional Elsa character in Frozen, and few prefer Anna– the tougher, funnier, more dynamic and quirky character with the much stronger personality.

So I think it really says something special about Nora that she always chooses to play with her Anna doll. She obviously identifies more with Anna and chooses her because she sees the value in her strong personality, and not because I refused to buy her any of the Elsa merchandise she desperately wanted and cried for, shoved the Anna doll in her face and yelled MOM IS ONLY BUYING YOU THIS ONE AND YOU WILL PLAY WITH IT AND YOU WILL LOVE THE AWKWARD GIRL MORE THAN THAT PRETTY VAPID ONE SO HELP ME GOD DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!

Anyway I’m really proud of her.

200w

Plus That

Today I was in a tutoring session with a 6th grader who I have always considered to be very mature for her age. She’s always aware of the latest current events and it seems her parents don’t try to censor the content she consumes online. Just last week we had a very in-depth conversation about George Floyd (she’s horrified and heartbroken) and Trump’s handling of the coronavirus (she’s disgusted).

As a teacher, I of course don’t play favorites, so needless to say she’s my favorite.

Anyway, given her maturity and general awareness of horrible shit in the world, I was surprised when, given an assignment to invite 4 famous people (past or present) to dinner and write the dialogue that would ensue, she immediately chose Michael Jackson as her first guest.

Me (treading lightly): “Oh. That’s, umm…an interesting choice.”

Kid: “Yeah I mean he’s a LEGEND. And a musical genius. I bet he’d have a LOT of interesting stuff to say. He’s like one of the most successful and best-selling artists ever!”

Me (realizing she is clearly unaware of the controversy surrounding him): “Well…I can’t really argue with that. So ok, Michael Jackson. Who else would you choose?”

Kid: “Barack Obama, Malala, Greta Thunberg, and Martin Luther King Jr.”

Me: “Oh! I love those choices! But remember you can only have four guests total.”

Kid: “Ok, I guess then get rid of Michael Jackson.”

Me (relieved): “I agree.”

Kid: “He doesn’t really fit in with the rest of my choices. Like, he’s not a hero or an activist or anything.”

Me: “Right. Exactly. I was thinking the same thing.”

Kid: “Yeah.”

(Silence)

Kid: “Plus he raped all those kids.”

 

And Then I Paid HER For the Session

During a tutoring session with a 2nd grader…

Me (after we read a story about a man who wasted his wishes on material things, and ended up with nothing): “And so if you had one wish, what would it be?”

Kid (thinks long and hard; seems indecisive): “I guess….a red sno-cone. That’s my favorite.”

Me (disappointed): “Really? You looked like you were deciding between that and something else. Something a little more meaningful, maybe….?”

Kid: “Well, I was going to say I’d wish for the world to be a better place.”

Me: “YES!!!! YES YES YES. I love that. Now THAT is a beautiful, powerful, meaningful wish. Why didn’t you choose that one?!”

Kid: “Because you can’t wish for that.”

Me: (confused)

Kid: “You have to DO that. You can’t just wish for it, you have to DO it.”

12-stats