Monday, October 5, 2009

Math Minute

This morning after dropping the twins off at school, I returned home to T's homework sitting on the kitchen table. Math Minute problems are meant to be practiced at home before Friday's big Math Minute test (10 addition facts finished in a minute or less). I was a little surprised at T's work. I mean, he's a reeeeeeeeeeally smart kid - the only kid in his class to qualify for the school's gifted program - he woke up the other morning and met me face to face at my bed (I was a little groggy and caffeine needy, I'll admit) with the following announcement (again, he's in second grade ... ):

"Mom! I know what 1million + 182 + 50 - 100 + 1 = ... 1,000,133."

What?! Where's the coffee ...
Wait a minute ... What?!
Tell me your math problem again, T.
"I saaaid, '1million + 182 +50 -100 +1 =1,000,133.'"

Uhhhm. Yeah, I think you're right, T. That's really good, Buddy. Now, where's the coffee ...
Imagine my surprise, therefore, when this morning I came home to this:

(note: the circles and arrows were added by me)

T has not once shown signs of dyslexia before. I don't think he's reversed a 7 since preschool. I've worried lately that maybe he's under too much pressure - placed on himself, by us, by school ... maybe he was truly reaching a breaking point. Or maybe he was being silly. I set the paper aside to speak one-on-one with T later ...

Tonite, I found a quiet moment, showed him the paper and prompted him to share what was going on. "I didn't do this, Mom." Keep in mind, T's a super kid. He tows the line and then some. But it's a full moon out and the boy can act just as squirrely as the next kid. And lately he has, believe me! So I looked him straight in the eye and started my lecture about honesty amidst my concerned discussion about math and writing numbers correctly and what could have caused these reversals ... "Honest, Mom. It wasn't me." By now, I'm starting to get mad. The reasonable, compassionate, concerned-over-stress-induced-new-found-dyslexia-in-my-sweet-baby-boy mommy had flown the coop. I stood in her place. Ever so quietly, and so as not to be noticed, Meiners had sneaked up beside us and stood nonchalantly listening to our conversation. I glanced in his direction. Understanding sinking in. I turned to Meiners.

"Meinie, did you finish this paper?"

He hung his head.

Laughing, I repeated, "Meiners, did you finish this math paper?"

He has always believed he was born a triplet. This sweet little boy who is only 5 and sits at the dinner table soaking in all the math and spelling questions that Daddy uses to quiz the big kids. He's been listening. And the boy can do math. Maybe a little backwards. But darn good for a 5 year-old kindergartener!

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