Math Night Mayhem…Adding our Family Subtracts the Calm and Multiplies the Chaos

I don’t know about you but I am not a math person. Numbers and I just don’t get along all that well. I wish we did. There are definitely a lot of opportunities out there for those who are math-savvy. Math was always my weakest subject in school. I only just recently decided it was finally time to part ways with the book “Conquering Math Phobia” that a statistics prof had recommended to us “math phobes” in university. I loved that book because even just the title alone proved that math phobia was real. Ha!

So, naturally, when my kindergarteners brought home a note  from school inviting us to a Family Math Learning night, I was all over it!

No, really! I was!

You see, the last thing I want to do is to accidentally encourage my kids to think negatively about math. Mind over matter, right? So, if there was a fun event that promoted “math-love”, we were going to be there with bells on! (Or, at least with all 3 kids wearing pants and what not!)

On the evening of math night, as I rounded up my troops to get them ready to go, I couldn’t help but think “If only my high school math teachers could see me now!” headed off to Math Night! I love how being a parent opens new doors for us. Our kids pave the way to new experiences and as a result, we are constantly learning and evolving as human beings. Being a parent also makes one appreciate a night off of making dinner and doing dishes!  There was pizza being served at math night!  “If you offer free food, they will come!” I joked with my husband that evening that I will even go to “Math Night” to get a night off from the grueling, monotonous tasks of cooking dinner and cleaning the kitchen post-mealtime.

Our kids wear uniforms to school so they were pretty excited about being able to wear their own clothes to Math Night. I wore a uniform in high school and remember looking forward to dress down/out-of-uniform days. It’s kind of a big deal to get to choose your own clothing once in a blue moon! (Or non-blue moon since the dress code calls for navy blue and white!)  Both kids were excited about wearing real clothes back to school, for opposite reasons. Five-year-old, Miss M chose a pair of pink tights, her pink and gold tulle unicorn dress, a sparkly white sweater and enough costume jewellery to add a good couple of pounds to her overall weight. She needed a purse and asked for lipstick. No, no, my dear. A 5 year old does not need to wear lipstick to math night.

Four-year-old, Mr. C, on the other hand, happily changed into his grubbiest track pants, t-shirt and hoodie. You do you, Buddy. Both of them were thrilled with their uniformless wardrobe choices…for obvious reasons. Prom night chic and bumming around comfort.

After spending a little extra time convincing 2 year old, Mr. O to wear both pants and boots, our family of 5 + arriving at Math Night on time = a miracle in itself. We entered the school gym where the kids insisted on sitting in the front row. Since the front row is closest to the door, I wasn’t entirely opposed since it meant I could make a quick exit if an ugly behaviour reared its head during the presentation. The gym quickly filled with families and we all sat in our seats enjoying the pizza provided for the event.

Being a Catholic school, each event always begins with a prayer. The prayer has a cute math theme to it… “Add <something positive.> Subtract <something negative>.” Unfortunately I (and everyone around me) didn’t get to hear all of the exact words because at this very moment, Mr. O decided to beg for more pizza.

“Mo Pee-suh!”

Me whispering: “Shh! I will get you some more pizza in just a minute! Please sit quietly and wait!”

Mo Pee-suh!

Mo PEE-SUH!!

MO PEEEeee-SUHhhhh!!!!!

His unstoppable demands echoed through the gym during the entire opening prayer.  I almost died. The more I shushed him, the louder he responded. Embarrassed, I scooped him up and bolted for the gym door to get him out in the hallway. This only made him yell and cry louder and I arrived at the door just as the prayer finished anyway so if anything, this move was actually just a bigger, more distracting spectacle than the pizza chanting itself.

Good riddance. We are causing chaos at Math Night already.

I sat Mr. O back down and scurried over to the pizza table at the side of the gym and grabbed another round of pizza on napkins just like how I remember it being served on pizza day when I was in elementary school. Aww, nostalgia.Some things never change.

I made it back to my seat just as our school’s principal took the stage to begin his presentation. I handed out the slices to my hungry kids and husband, crouched over as if that would make my pizza serving less distracting to the families sitting behind us. As the principal spoke, I heard a sloppy SPLAT! And before I could even look down our row to see what it was, Mr. O shamelessly exclaimed “Oh no! My Pee-Suh! My Pee-Suh!” before crying hysterically with full tears.

You’ve got to be kidding me.

I quickly handed him my piece of pizza to stop the wreckless, dramatic blabbering and attempted to clean up the splat or upside-down saucy pizza from the gymnasium floor with the tiny amount of remaining pizza napkins I had in front of me. Hubby ran over to get more napkins and we did our best to address the mess on the floor without being a ridiculous distraction yet again.  In order to stop the madness, I decided to just cover the pizza with the napkins and some baby wipes I had pulled from my bag and deal with it later.

The talk about supporting our children’s math learning was really well done.  It seemed to be tailored towards parents like me who may or may not identify as math-phobic.  The principal was sure to mention that there is no “math gene” so just because we, as parents, may not be lovers of mathematics, it doesn’t mean that our kids are doomed and won’t excel in math either.  He confirmed that this simply is not true.  Phewwf.  He talked about speaking positively about math at home, encouraging our kids to use math whenever possible in order to demonstrate how math is everywhere. *shudder*

No, I’m just kidding.  It was great and apparently I was absorbing the presentation so much that until the lovely woman behind me tapped me on the shoulder to let me know that Mr. O had spilled his water all over his seat, I had actually thought that our family’s chaos had ended.

I tried to mop the water up with the bits of pizza stained napkin that I had left as the presentation continued but I didn’t have enough and did not want to get up and run over for more napkins yet again… so I picked him up and sat him on my lap.

If a family of 5 has 5 slices of pizza and each slice is served on one napkin, how many napkins does the family have in total?

Sorry, kids!  The answer is 37.  Because after multiple spills and splats of upside down pizza, I’m pretty sure our family owes the school a package of napkins.  We alone blew the napkin budget for this event.

Sitting a wet-bummed Mr. O on my lap for the rest of the presentation was not acceptable to him.

He started flailing and yelling ” No, my chair! My chair! No Mommy, No! Sit in MY CHAIR! Over there!”

Brutal.

The presentation ended with families being encouraged to visit classrooms where teachers would be demonstrating how math lessons are taught with the current curriculum.

We took some time to clean up our pizza and water mess before heading down to the kindergarten classroom where even Mr. O sat nicely on the carpet and took in the math activity on the smart board.

The teacher shared some great apps that we will definitely be trying at home in order to encourage math learning.  One is Bedtime Math which I downloaded that night and another is Math Ease which we will be checking out soon.

Miss M enjoyed cruising the classroom with her little kindergarten girlfriends, all of them dolled up in frilly party dresses and enough accessories to make a Kardashian jealous.  These girls were loving their “girls’ night out” and the out-of-uniform wardrobe choices that came with it.

Mr. C naturally opted to play with everything in the classroom that was not a designated math activity.  Another teacher was kind enough to explain that math was everywhere so even though he was doing the complete opposite of what he was instructed, he was still learning and taking in some math… even if he was colouring Pokemon characters on the easel and setting the table in the kitchen instead of creating patterns and using a bingo dabber to illustrate numbers.  Oy….

When math night ended, we loaded up our tired math kids and drove him.  Poor, overstimulated Mr. O fell asleep in his carseat.  When we arrived at home, I carefully unbuckled him and tried to slip his arms through the straps without disturbing his sweet slumber.  I had trouble getting his left arm through the strap because his fist was clenched tightly closed.  As I peeled his fingers back to figure out what he had in his grasp, I was horrified to see that he had managed to steal all 5 of the adorable math counters that were used in the math game that Miss M and her girlfriends had been playing.

If anyone is currently wondering how many counters now remain in the little, wooden bowl, the answer is zero.  You have got to be kidding me!

As soon as Mr. C and Miss M saw that their baby brother was holding on to these little math counters, they completely lost their minds.  They were horrified and were expecting the police to arrive and haul them off to jail any second now.  At least they are honest?  “We aren’t allowed to take thing shome from school!  Those belong in the classroom!  We are going to be in so much trouble!  We have to bring them back right now!”

There was no way that anyone was still at the school by this time plus it was almost bedtime.  So, I explained that we would write a note to their teacher explaining what happened and return the bear counters.  We would apologize for our Mr. O who had waken up and was proudly playing with “his bears” and gave zero F’s about the chaos he had caused by stealing them.

(See video below of just how proud and shameless he is! Also, since he added those bears to his water, he basically created his vaccination tonic… Bonus! *barf*)

The bears were returned.  No one went to jail.  And out of a family of 5 of us, how many people will be invited back to math night?  I’m not sure… but probably ZERO.

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