Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Math or Cleaning?

Last night I was helping my son with his 4th grade math homework. While we were bellied up to the counter, elbow deep in fractions and decimals and number lines, I had asked my daughter to straighten up the living room and kitchen. From this little scene, I learned something: cleaning frustrates her as much as math frustrates me. I'm slightly embarrassed to admit this, but there was a certain problem in the math book that had me stumped. My daughter, of course, is something of a math wiz. She was sweeping the kitchen floor when I asked her to take a look at the problem and then explain it to her brother.

And then there was this moment.

This moment when I realized that she is her mother's daughter.

"Okay," she said. "Everybody stop. Everybody do a ten-foot radius check."

"A ten-foot radius check?" I asked.

"Everybody pick up and put away whatever is within a ten-foot radius of you. I don't care if it's yours or not."

*where have i heard that before?*

Mind you, I would not have used a high-fallutin' math term like "ten-foot radius," but I would have said something like, "I don't care who it belongs to or where it goes, just put it away!" So I smiled to myself. And I took my ball cap to my room. Then I came back and picked up a dish rag and wiped down the stove, because, you know, it was only three feet away from me. She sat down and calmly and successfully explained the math problem to her brother.

And then to me.

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