Homework and Bedtime

Trying to get Elihu’s math homework done. Had a nice visit with some neighbors, met their horses and dogs, but it pushed dinner back, and consequently the math homework too. I pick it up and look it over and realize it’s a friggin craft project. This thing requires scissors, glue and the ability to see color. The first page involves coloring in even and odd numbered coins in a leprechaun’s pot, even in yellow, odd in brown. The color thing isn’t tricky here; yellow is light, brown is dark, and I’ve labeled most of his markers and pencils by now. The problem is that my son is an artist with high standards. I explain that his teacher simply needs to see that he understands the concept; he needn’t fret over the execution of the ‘coloring in’. “But I like to color” he says, diligently working at his second of nearly fifty coins. I give him two minutes – for that is as much time as it would take to separate even from odd – then I cut him off. Thankfully, he is most often a reasonable and intelligent fellow and he agrees without protest.

The second page required cutting out coins in another St. Patty’s day-themed handout. He was to then match the equation on the coin to the total on the paper, and glue the coin to the page.  We got efficient. I cut, I glued, he did the calculation.

The following page required several colors, and dozens of shamrocks to be filled in. I suggested he underline the appropriate shamrock in the correct color. He didn’t  bat an eye but went straight at it, surrendering the task of coloring in without a second thought. Good boy, let’s get this done. It is late, and he is yawning, but he did his math homework, and we made it without a scene. A triumph in the house tonite. He is getting ready for bed now, all is well.

Elihu just came to me with his completed homework, adorned with a full-color picture of a leprechaun. Buff-colored skin, black hat, silver buckle, red and white striped socks and green suit. This may seem a trifle, but he sees no color at all, and I am impressed he took the time to locate the colors, and that he knew which were the correct choice. He must memorize our use of colors, for to him they are merely shades of gray. I am proud.

Now we will get into bed and I will read a few chapters of The Burgess Bird Book for Children. A delightful tome, (and a first edition too – nearly 100 years old) replete with old-fashioned language and details that may seem uninteresting to most children of today. But thankfully, my son hangs on every word. I feel so lucky to have such a child. It goes without saying that I love him above all else, and I would add that I am grateful for all our moments together in this fast-waning time in his life. Childhood is brief, and I am treasuring every minute of his.

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