Nikki was sick for a couple of days last week and her teacher approached me after school on Friday and handed me some notebooks and worksheets and asked me if I wanted to give Nikki a hand in catching up what she missed, over the weekend. She went to some pains to be clear that I was not required to do this and could return the whole lot untouched if I wanted but of course, I wanted to do the work with Nikki. Duh.
Mrs. T. went over the tasks and explained what needing to be completed. No problem. I guess she should have added that they were tasks that NIKKI was meant to do. On her own. With little to no input from me, mistakes and all. Unfortunately, that’s not quite how it played out.
The exercise was simple: cut out the names of each kid in the class that were on a sheet of paper and then glue them in to a numbered box on another sheet that corresponded to the number of letters in their name. So I was bound and determined to sit next to Nikki and not interfere if she miscounted the letters and placed the name in the wrong box. Years ago, someone said to me that I should never, ever play poker because I would lose just from the look on my face. As Nikki counted the letters in the name Matthew (handwritten on the sheet by the teacher), she double counted one of the T’s and so went to glue his name in the box marked ‘8’. I frowned. Nikki looked at me and sighed. “What Mommy?”
“Nothing! Nothing at all.” But she knew it was wrong by my face and counted again, getting an accurate count of ‘7’ this time, at which I smiled.
The jig is up, kid. Want to know the right answer? Just look at Mommy’s face. Unless we’re doing math past grade 2. The only look you’ll get then is total confusion with a twinge of shame.