Girl2, is working hard in her last year of primary school, preparing for the selection process that forms part of the transfer to secondary school. It’s a whole family event.
Spurs Fan helps her with practise tests at the weekend, and with maths homework problems. I can do some of the maths, but not much- another fun feature of ME is the inability to manage numbers beyond very simple calculations. A page of numbers is simply a page of meaningless squiggles that I am unable to process.
I get the words: spellings, vocabulary, maths language. We can spend hours on the difference between ‘severe’ and ‘denounce’, ‘reluctant’ and ‘deficient’. ‘Immortal’ is announced with a Fame style pose, in the hope that ridiculousness and laughter will aid learning. Simply looking at unfamiliar words doesn’t do it for any of us.
The other day, my afternoon nap turned into a maths session. “Can you help me with my triangular numbers?” Triangular numbers? What on god’s earth are triangular numbers? I’ve heard of square numbers and cubed numbers, but I’ve gone through many years at school without ever having heard of triangular numbers. Do I need to know about them? Will they make my life comprehensible?
So Girl2 demonstrated her understanding of these things by explaining them to me, telling me how to work them out and rattling off sequences, forwards and backwards. Really, I did help…
Other new words she’s teaching me: vertices, factors and tessellation. Maths has a very different language than it had in the 1970s.
My credit card bill just arrived. Do you think it’ll make sense now that I know about vertices?
They tell me I’m not going to win at the water gun battle if I keep my eyes closed and my head down. (This is, presumably, true for any sort of battle.)
There were thoughts about how confrontational we became with guns in our hands.
There was team work, screaming and an awful lot of sogginess. Giggling.
I love the giggling.
A swingball tournament awaits
I’m not going to win that either…
Darn it. Social gaffes abound round here. The coolest kid in class has decreed, and I’ve been doing it wrong. Not for the first time.
I’m horrified. Distraught. Wondering if I can take to the blog with a revisionist red pen. I’m never going to be cool at this rate.
I … realize that writing about dogs is a very tricky business. It’s nearly impossible to do without some simpering sentimentality. In a dream world, you write about your dog and you’re J. R. Ackerley. Or perhaps your words will have the droopy intelligence of a Thurber dog. Jo Ann Beard’s essay “The Fourth State of Matter,” a stunning account of a mass shooting in an academic community and its surreal aftermath, describes a dying dog with such eloquent precision that you can see every heartbreaking curve of his body, feel every labored breath, and you reflect on how we all fit together as a mesh of messy creation. But, more often, you’re writing “Beethoven.” “Marley and Me” if you’re lucky.
The same caveats apply to conversation about dogs. Just discussing your dog can be as tiresome and offensive as talking about the weather, your own dreams, or the newest wrinkle in your married sex life. At least when people talk about their children, there is a chance that the kid will grow up to be President.
Well, eek. What am I to do now? Jake is family. This is a personal blog. Never mind the cool kids, I’m writing what I want (Jake is scared of the snowman) and Lena can’t stop me. What else did she say that I can complain about?
I read on.
A-ha! Lena is a doggie person after all. She tells of her attempt to rescue pit bull puppies as a teenager, the subsequent family pet, the dog free years, and now, life with Lamby the mutt. Hundreds of words about her dogs.
I climb down from my high horse.
This is the perfect moment to make sure you haven’t been missing out on The Oatmeal. You may be gone some time. Enjoy.