Finishing a math lesson with a 5 year old….
Me: “Any questions?”
Kid: “Yeah. When that baby comes out of your vagina, is it going to hurt?”
Me: “Excuse me?”
Kid: “Babies come out of vaginas, you know. My dad told me when I asked him how your baby was going to get out of you. He said it would come out of your vagina.”
Me: “Well, remind me to thank your dad. But what I meant was, do you have any MATH questions.”
Kid: “Ummmm…let me think.”
Me: “We just did a whole lesson about how to tell time and read a calendar. Do you have questions about THAT?”
Kid: “Oh! Yes. How many days on the calendar…”
Me: “Ok, that’s better…”
Kid: “…until that baby comes out of your vagina?”
Kid and I are researching quotes for his paper about community action, and we come across a good quote by Nelson Mandela.
Me: “Ohhh, that’s a perfect one to use. Do you know who Nelson Mandela is?”
Kid: “Yeah of course.”
Me: “Oh, I’m impressed. I wouldn’t necessarily think a kid your age would know about him.”
Kid: “Well, my dad listens to his music all the time.”
Me: “Ummm…his music? Nelson Mandela was not a musician, as far as I know…”
Kid: “Yes, he’s a country singer!”
Me: “I think you’re thinking of someone else…”
Kid: “You know, (singing) ‘On the road again, Just can’t wait to get on the road again….'”
Me: “Oh, honey, no. That’s Willie Nelson. Not Nelson Mandela. They are two very VERY different people. Nelson Mandela ended apartheid in South Africa.”
Kid (pondering): “Ok but otherwise they’re pretty much the same.”
Me: “And what would you say is your greatest area of need?”
Me: “And your greatest strength?”
Kid: “Like, I guess…not vocabulary?”
(Part of the Ebola Mom series)
Ummm…about what? Fun? Culture? The world? LIFE OUTSIDE YOUR BATSHIT GRIP?!
Our entire apartment is just filled with post-its of me trying to figure out 4th grade math.
Before my first session with a new client…
Parent (to her kid): “I want you to listen to everything Miss Emily says, because she went to Penn, and if you listen to her, one day you can go to a school like that, too. Wouldn’t that be so great?”
Kid: (blank stare)
BECAUSE HE’S THREE.
Parent of student: “Why isn’t her math improving more?!”
Me (aloud): “Progress takes time.”
Me (internally): “Little do you know, ‘Progress takes time’ is just my vague, polite, professional code for GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK, LADY– I see your kid one hour a week. If she doesn’t put in the effort between sessions, well…I’M NOT A GODDAMN WIZARD.”
Me: “Why aren’t I improving more?!”
Therapist: “Progress takes time.”
About to play a math game…
Kid: “Can we use the dice app on your phone again?”
Me: “No, we only did that last time because I forgot the dice. But now I have them, so we can roll them ourselves.”
Kid (sigh): “But it’s so much easier to just touch your phone screen.”
Me: “But it’s so much nicer and more interesting to be a human who does old-timey human things, like hold real dice in your hand, and then extend your arm ever so slightly to roll them on the real, live floor. Plus they make a sound and everything!”
Kid: ( . crosses arms. pouts.)
We’re so fucked.
(Part of the Ebola Mom series)
What is happening.
Working on a summer newsletter writing project with a middle schooler….
Me: “So what do you think you want to write about for your editorial piece? What’s an issue you are passionate about?”
Student: “I was going to write about about making the food in the school cafeteria better, because it’s pretty gross.”
Me: “Oh, great idea!”
Student: “But then I changed my mind, but I don’t know if you’ll let me write about it.”
Student: “I really want to write about what happened in Virginia, and how sad it makes me feel, and how I think we should all spread love and not hate. And how I think racism is wrong. And I know this might be weird but can I add an obituary section? I want people to remember the girl who died, Heather. I think she was a good person and people should remember her.”