Oh, the whining and crying and gnashing of teeth going on in my house tonight, all because of multiplication.

The littlest was just assigned the task of writing her “2’s” and “3’s,” and you’d think somebody died. She is in third grade and is relatively intelligent but hates math more than boiled okra. She can’t even find her pencil, she is so grief stricken.

She is sure to collapse into a full blown tantrum any minute now. I stand ready with a cheese stick. My “go to” for such events. If the cheese doesn’t take her mind off her multiplication woes, at least she won’t wail as loudly. Plus, a little protein has been known to stop a meltdown in its tracks (remind me to tell that story another time).

Why does everything have to be so dramatic in a house full of girls? I mean, seriously? I don’t know if I will survive three more swings at eighth grade. I hated it enough when I was there. I have managed to keep it all together with the four oldest, but my math skills level off somewhere around Geometry I. I still don’t understand how the alphabet got involved. Nothing messes up my mind like “Pi r square”.

I’m kind of like the kid who said, “Pie are round! Sheet cakes are square!” It’s all Greek to me.

Math is not the only cause of frustration in this house – homework is in general, but reading and spelling to be more specific. I am not a “stellar speller” but I do love that my early teachers insisted  I kept pounding out those sounds until I could read.

It is a tough job, teaching reading. My hat is off to all K-2 teachers (and beyond). I would rather listen to a dental drill than a small child learning to read. I’m not sure why it b-b-b-o-o-o-th-th-ers me so much – it just does. I could never homeschool or be an early ed teacher because somebody would get hurt. I was close to throwing a stack of sight words out the car window on one occasion because the English language is nearly impossible to read!

I was in the back seat with my first grader, trying to explain how the “e” at the end of a word makes the first vowel say its name. She looked at me like I had three heads. “Mommy, the vowels don’t talk”… I was rolling down the window.

Perhaps you are getting the picture as to why there is so much drama in my house. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I cause the school angst just a little bit. It is a known fact that I loathe homework, but then I feel the same way about stupid children’s television. All things in moderation.

So, we are looking up multiplication games on the computer. We have a multiplication toy and flash cards all over the house. I woke up the other morning at 4 saying my “7’s” in my head. We are writing spelling words over and over.

School is awesome! Can you see me gritting my teeth? I’m smiling and saying a special Thanksgiving prayer for all the teachers out there!

Angie Brown is a humorist who loves being a wife, mother and grandmother. She currently lives in Opelika with her husband of thirty one years and four of their seven children.