Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Math Has Always Been the Bane of My Existance - the Mothering Edition

Monday night was a doozie of a night at Casa del Meyer. I will not be able to properly convey the frustrated rage that it created, but generally, you’ll get the picture.

LMNOB was in top I-have-sensory-processing-disorder-so-I-do-not-have-to-listen-to-A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G-you-parental-types-have-to-say form. And yes, before people correct me about the nature of the disorder where it’s not so much a have to listen distinction as it is an ability to listen, let me assure you I am well aware of this particular distinction.

So, when we started her very first Monday Math homework, and she cut the paper dominoes’ dots that represented quantitative data instead of the dotted lines signifying where she was supposed to cut (and therefore tear forever asunder from each other) said “dominoes,” I immediately suggested, “Why don’t you go get your [weighted] vest so that your brain is getting input and you can make better sense of what you need to do.”

She then told me she didn’t know where it was, then tearfully and all, please-have-pity-on-me-because-you’re-right-I-CAN’T-do-my-homework-without-it (in other words – she latched on to the opportunity to stall with a deathgrip) begged Charlie Brown and me to help her find it so that she could be a good student.

We fell for it hook, line and sinker.

And when we discovered that she’d lied to Charlie Brown about the whereabouts of said vest (A very conscientious “Oh, Daddy, it’s not in my closet”…and yet indeed it was in the closet), she began to throw a screaming fit.

Funny, nothing is her fault, not even the words that she uttered forth of her own volition.

Yeaaaaaaaaaahhhh…..Thing is? Mama don’t play that way. AT ALL.

We got the vest put on her and made her jump on the tramp…well, that last part was really halfhearted, anyway – and not so successful – but nevertheless she was getting proprioceptive input, right?

Then, Charlie Brown and LMNOB sat down and played the domino math game that she was assigned to do, while I prepared a sumptuous feast of Tex-Mex cuisine. Or maybe just tacos and refried beans from a can. Whatever…

After dinner and the subsequent clean-up, I revisited the homework assignment, telling LMNOB that there was another piece to the puzzle before she was finished: She needed to read the directions on the worksheet and then write what they were asking for before I could sign off that she’d done her homework.

She then said, “No, YOU read it to me.”

I told her that she could read it and that I would help her with the writing activity once she read the directions. HERSELF. I mean for Pete’s sake, she’s reading 4th grade level books, she can for certain read instructions on a 1st grade math worksheet! I am a big proponent for individual responsibility and empowerment – for me to read her something that she was perfectly capable of reading herself, and that was more appropriate for her to read (since it would give her a better understanding of HER work to be done than if I had read it) is enabling this behavior – and I refuse to be an enabler!

Enter WWIII. She threw a holy fit, and I yelled, Charlie Brown yelled, and at one point I prayed that none of the neighbors could hear.

At 8:00, I declared the war over, determining that LMNOB had run out of time for homework and that she would have to face the music for her poor choices at school.

She wailed at that, and for the next 40 minutes both children howled from their bedrooms.

Throughout the whole evening, it had been unbelievably hard not to cave – but firm I remained.

The next morning, she glared at me when I put her homework folder back in her bag, with detailed notes to her teachers about why the work was not done.

This morning, her math teacher stopped her in the hallway and said, “LMNOB, at first recess this morning, you are going to come into my room and we are going to work on the rest of your homework.”

Said teacher later told me that I’d done the right thing by not rescuing my child, letting her face the natural consequence.

Validation is nice.


  1. Good for you. I think too many kids end up getting mom and dad's help even when they don't deserve it. LMNOB will learn. And some lessons are better learned sooner rather than, say, at college.

  2. You totally rock! GO YOU! I agree with teacher too... :)

  3. Hello, Hamiam. Do you meme? If you do, I tagged you for a silly meme on my blog.

  4. As a teacher (librarian), I'm a little embarrassed to say that I didn't realize the purpose of the weighted vest some of my students wear. Nice to know.

  5. Wow ... this sounds like a scene from my house a couple of weeks ago. :)

    Good job not giving in ... our teachers always stand by us in that decision too! It's nice to have support, isn't it?