I am pretty sure there are Impatience and Easily Bored genes. If one of you Human Genome scientists could just find them, I need someone to do some sort of a splice on my daughter because man, I am running out of ideas on how to make her more patient and extend her attention span beyond two minutes.

We are trying to get through her summer homework and I’ve been telling myself to go easy, but man, we still have an inch more of all that paper to go through. Everyday, right before lunch, we sit down for two pages of beginning math (which I supplement with a Nintendo DS game called Professor Kayegama’s Cell Math – I think) and two pages of writing (all from the big pile her kindergarten teacher gave us right before summer hols) and at bedtime, we usually read a chapter from a chapter book (Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator is on now) which she has no problems with since reading is her favorite of the lot. But man, the math and writing is driving me up the wall because my daughter is, to put it nicely, spirited.

For example, she likes to “do things her way” – her exact words – rather than do things the right way, such as writing along the guide lines or counting with her fingers when counting in her head does not work. It’s all great but then she gets frustrated when the words don’t fit onto the page because she didn’t follow the lines and can’t get her math answers right because she counted it wrong in her head. And then she throws a fit and begins to sob over the fact she’s frustrated and refuses to finish. 

And YET, the very next day, she STILL decides NOT to follow the lines or use an abacus or her fingers.

Now a lot of people will say, “hey she is spirited, not wanting to be limited by lines!” or “she’s spirited, doing subtraction in her head!” and pretty soon, some will even say, “hey, getting it right is overrated!” but I am pretty sure simple subtraction and writing in straight lines are relatively standard expectations of a six-year old who could discern that five minutes is not as long as half an hour when she was four, especially when I gave her the warning to turn the TV off.

I am someone who values methodology and process. Not everyone does but I think at the very least these things should be respected. You may be a genius but the laws of the universe, and sometimes, the laws of man, still apply to you, whatever you may think.

Now I am proud to have a daughter who WANTS to be creative and spirited and wants to add a little challenge or fun into mundane things like homework but I believe there’s a time for everything (especially when you’re a SAHM!). And I think that it’s high time someone told my six-year old that her first grade teacher may not find it very funny when she decides to do things her way, writing vertically instead of horizontally, or takes all day to subtract three from ten because she insists on using her head, a head that is probably filled with, “If I buy THREE Barbies from the store which has TEN Barbies …hmm, how would life be with THREE more Barbies?”

And that was exactly what I told her this morning.

“Now you have to do what Miss A says. You can’t just do it the way you like, that’s not how it works,” I’d said, a little pissed off by then.

My six-year old thought about it for a while and went, “I’ll do what my teacher says.”

“Good. So do it the way I told you to do it. Use the abacus.”

“But you’re not my teacher.” she’d answered crisply.

And then there are days when you want to drive to the gas station and buy a pack of cigarettes and pay a visit to the liquor store next door. 

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