Friday, February 17, 2012

That's not what they called it back in the day

I attended a "Math & Muffins" event at my daughter's school this morning. Parents were invited to join their child(ren) for some math exercises and then to munch some mini muffins afterward. So, I took part of the morning off work and trucked over to the school to pretend I care about math (in the interest of being a good mom and all). There is, after all, a reason why I chose English as my major in college. However, I do want my daughter to care about math, so I've tried not to let my apathy slip out when she's around. When it comes to homework assistance, we have a clear division of labor: P handles math and I deal with the written word. Although I suspect it won't be long before the kid's math lessons are over my head, at this point I'm still able to handle the basic arithmetic lessons she is tackling in the first grade. Therefore, I felt qualified to attend this particular event.

The parents gathered in the cafeteriauditoriumnasium and the principal stopped by to say a few words and to thank us for coming. We were then dismissed to head to the classrooms. My daughter was excited to see me. She pulled up a chair next to her desk so I could sit with her. Mrs. S gave us instructions for playing the first game. We had three decks of flashcards, with each card containing an equation. For example: 7 + ___ = 11.  (See, I told you I can handle it!) The idea was to solve the equation and then set the card down on a corresponding square (4) and creating a quilt of sorts.

Then the teacher said this: "Some of the kids may be able to do it in their head but others may want to use finger flashing."

Wait a second . . . finger flashing?  You mean, what we used to call counting on your fingers? At first I thought I misheard her but then she repeated it several times: finger flashing. And here I thought finger flashing was something entirely different. I use it not so much for math but for signaling my displeasure at other drivers on the road. I looked around the room to see if any of the other parents found it amusing, but apparently I was the only one. Clearly, something is wrong with me. I blame my parents. I think they taught me to derive humor from inappropriate situations.

It's worth noting that because of her genius-level intellect, my kid didn't have to flash anybody the finger to do her math. We played the game and then received instructions on the next game. For this game, we had to roll a die and then use a chart to draw a snowman. So, if you rolled a 1 you had to draw the hat, a 2 was the head and so forth. The kid and I rolled the die and drew our snowmen. And then we were done.

Eventually Mrs. S realized that there was too much time left over. We weren't supposed to eat the muffins until precisely 10:10 a.m. and it was only 10:00. She decided we could add accessories to our snowmen.

"What accessories would your snowman have?" she asked the class. The first thing that popped into my mind: a lit cigar. Again, I don't know what is wrong with me. I had to fight the almighty compulsion to put a stogie in my snowman's mouth.

I looked over at my daughter's snowman. She had drawn a purse, which was draped delicately over the snowman's stick arm. Then she added a flowing scarf. Her accessories made a lot more sense than what I had in mind. She handed me a purple marker and instructed me to give my snowman a purse also. I complied.

Before I knew it, it was time for the mini muffins and room temperature apple juice. I had a chocolate chip one.  And then I had to go back to work and do grown-up stuff. I hope I didn't embarrass my daughter too much. I had scared her this morning by suggesting that if I came to school and my butt started to itch . . . I might, just might, have to scratch it. In front of her friends. "Mo-o-om!"

At least I know that finger flashing is not a problem and can be done freely in public or in private. Please make a note of it.

No comments: