Thursday, May 6, 2010

My Son, The Literal-Minded Math Genius

When it comes to telling me about her day at school, Thing 1 stays fairly tight-lipped because, as dictated by Angst and the Art of Pre-Teen Disgruntlement, that’s the proven way to produce a grunting sound most appropriate to respond to any inquiries by a parental unit.

math symbols Still, the unsolicited information spilling forth from her the other day did not put me into immediate Code Blue cardiac arrest. That’s because it involved tattling on her little brother.

“Thing 2 one came into my classroom today,” she said between handfuls of lime-flavored tortilla chips. “His teacher had to come get him out. He started crying. Is he in trouble? You should punish him. Now. Chop chop.”

In the basement, Thing 2 lay sprawled on the couch, thumbs spastically waging another violent Pokémon overthrow on his Nintendo DS.

“So, Thing 2, son,” I said as I tried not to inhale the stench rising from the dirt-encrusted shreddings masquerading as his socks. “What were you doing over in your sister’s classroom today.”

“We were doing math and I got all the answers right, so Ms. Kowalsky said I was so smart I should skip the next grade and go right to fourth.”

“And that’s what you did. You walked out of your second grade class and went down the hall to Thing 1’s class.”

“Yeeeees,” he said over the beeps, blips and electronic death wails.

This was a serious step up. During our parent-teacher conference in March, his teacher told me she usually only told him to “get out of here and go right to third grade.”

Which, of course, he also would do.

“You know, dude, she’s kidding you, right? It’s a joke.”

“No. It’s NOT!” He lowered the DS and made … eye contact.

“Yes, it is. C’mon, why would you want to skip all the way up to fourth grade aside from the fact you’d finally be among kids closer to your own gargantuan height.”

“Because I already know everything,” he said before setting his jaw and roaring with a steam engine’s force of conviction, “and I WANT TO MOVE ON WITH MY LIFE!”

Son, my, son. So big of body, big of brain and short of patience. Some day, you’ll want to reverse all the clocks whose hands you have whirled forward with childish haste, but you won’t be able to.

If you’re lucky, though, you may be able to slow them down just a tick or two.

In the meantime, I hope what I can teach you about long division and complex fractions will do the trick.

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs


  1. Wowzer. You know long division AND complex fractions? Who'd a thunk.

    I love that he wants to move on with his life. Just where the hell does he think he's going anyway?

  2. First, I think I have a major Cougar Crush on Thing 2. Love that he did not pass "go" and went directly to 4th grade.

    Second, let's hope no one tells him that he can run like Victorino. Although stealing 3rd might be totally Werth the taser.

    Coo Coo Ka Choo!

  3. My, my. Tell him to hand in there, things get interesting soon!

  4. I want to move on with my life! I love it-I think I'll use that when my wife asks me to do things around the house.

  5. Why not? It will advance him out of another year of "The Corruption," according to my resident West Coast worshiper of Legendary Pokémon.

  6. I still don't want to reverse the hands of time if it means that I have to go back to school and do math.

  7. I have a message for Thing 2: Third grade is for chumps!

  8. Jeez. I think thing 2 might be Nietzsche's superman.

    Thus Spake ZaraAHAU

  9. I am pretty sure kids do "already know everything".

    If only getting on with our lives meant staying young in heart and mind (and body wouldn't hurt either)

  10. Assuming he's truly interested in moving on with his life, I'd like to hire him. I need someone who will teach me about fractions so I can help my second grader with his math homework.


    Skip that whole 'teach me' part. He can just help my kid with his homework. I like moving on with my life in as an oblivious state as one can and still be somewhat functional.

  11. Wow! But tell him life moves on fast enough on its own. :) I needed someone like you when I was in high school. Complex fractions were a bummer . . .

  12. HA! THat is awesome that he's confident enough to even do that... walk out and go into her class. He's awesome.

  13. like most mental giants, i fear your son is misunderstood.

    thinking literal is the new abstract.

    loved the ending. very, very true. we wish things to hurry up until they finally pass.

  14. I so agree with Mom of 2... This kid has drive!!
    He is going to be President some day... don't give up the dream, just slow down a little, dad knows what he's talking about.
    I miss my "little" boys - they are all grown up and gone. {sniff, sniff}

  15. I think it's great that your son's teacher can joke with him like that... and that she doesn't get frustrated with him when he takes her LITERALY.

    Speaking as a third grade teacher, I don't think he should jump over third grade... just find a teacher who WILL challenge him!

  16. O, Ms. Kowalsky, with your subtle and sarcastic wit. You clearly don't know who you're dealing with.

  17. O, Ms. Kowalsky, with your subtle and cavalier wit. You know not who you're dealing with.

  18. I used to know everything. It was awesome.


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