November 13, 2011

The MIGHTY Mouse.

The dreaded phone call came late last June.

"Hello Mrs. Little. This is Vice Principle Mr. LongGreekname from your son's school. He needs math tutoring over the summer to survive Grade 6 in the fall." Click! Dial tone.

The Huz had already left for England with the 11 year old boy and his eldest sister, so when I Skyped them to relay the message there were cries of dismay.

Yep. Summer was gonna be eaten by the times-table.

* * * *

Fast forward to late August.

Vacation is nearly over and the boy suddenly announces he can't wait to get a "mouse".

"Uh...excuse me?"

In fact he can talk of little else. It's all "mouse this" and "mouse that".

"What about the pets you already have? The monster goldfish in the Swamparium...

...the three smelly guinea pigs...

...and the depraved canine...?"

But he can't hear me.

"I'm gonna train my mouse and I'm gonna build a mouse cage with tubes and I'm gonna get a fancy mouse and I'm gonna mouse mouse mouse mousey mouse mouse infinity mouse!"

I decide to quiz the boy on multiplication and division with big numbers. Whereupon he flings himself around the room, kicking and screeching like an angry chimpanzee.

Turns out that despite summer tutoring he has retained little of the times-table or methods in multiplication and division. His room is flirting with hoarder. His attitude totally sucks!
And he thinks he's gonna get a mouse

This particular boy is not unintelligent. But perhaps he is lazy and somewhat presumptuous. What do you think I should do?

To be continued ...



  1. I got that x 3. They get good grades when I take stuff away like roller derby, video games, and other fun stuff. I am glad that all the kid's school have online grades so I can check up on them. ;)

  2. Um...were the guinea pigs, you know, multiplying?

  3. Blonde - So...maybe I should offer roller derby as a reward?

  4. Ellie - they're all females. Ha. We used to have a male named Mr. Snow but we had him fixed - SHAZAM! Anyway, he kicked the bucket about three years ago. *sniff*

  5. I say make him pass his maths and then prove to you he deserves it.
    AND point out that his fish tanks and guinea pig cages aren't exactly clean and that a mouse cage would only make it harder for him to keep everything clean, and he hasn't been able to keep them as clean as they need to be anyway, so until he's got his math and current pet situations under control , no mouse. And anger and tantrums don't help, they just make things worse.

  6. Ed - that's good advice. Can I throw in a few pedicures as part of the provisos?

  7. 1) What Ed said. At least the effort to pass. If it doesn't happen after hard work, that's a different story.
    2) Math rage face: my 11yo son made same face today when I had to cold boot his laptop thus deleting the paper he wrote but didn't save.
    3) Rats make better pets. Just saying.

  8. As to pedicures, is he any good at them? You only deserve the best, Cap'n.

  9. Itsbridgetsword - Damn. You're a hardbaked mom parking his laptop in the deep freeze. Wait - your kid has a laptop?!? Gotcha on the rat-thing, but if I tell him that, he'll want both AND his own laptop.

  10. Mice are vermin. (Rats are vermin, too, btw).

    That said, having raised a son who sounds maybe like yours, I'd have to suggest that you be a hard-ass and tell him, "No-Math" = "No Mice"

    "No Kidding"

    (there's even a math problem for you in there)

    Raising kids is just plain hard. I'm glad mine are grown and now my pat answer to all their crazy notions is, "Let me know how that works out for you."

  11. Fun. Sounds like my week. Monday I get an email from 7th grade son's science teacher. This is the extent of the email: "You son is failing science." That's IT! I respond "If you could give me more information that would be helpful, such as is he finishing assignments, turning in homework, failing tests? If you could tell me more maybe I could help him." Son is missing TEN assignments since October...OCTOBER! Quarter was ending 3 days later. Nice...not so much! Will have to do what blondefabulous said and check online! Sigh...


  12. When Dylan was in 5th grade the first thing every day in math, they had to sit down and do a paper with 100 multiplication problems (must have just been up through the 12s). But they had to be able to do it in FIVE minutes. He couldn't do it that quickly. This is the kid that ended up getting a 780 on the SAT math section. (two wrong). So every day the minute he walked in the door after school I set the timer for five minutes and he did one at home. Guess what? It was the same damn sheet every day, and I don't think he knew that! It only took a couple weeks for him to get it. It is really important to be able to do the multiplication and division really quickly, or they fall behind when the math gets harder.

  13. Chloe - Math is harrrd. Parenting is harrrder. Being a hard-ass is harrrdest.

    That is too funny!!!!!!!!
    Vice Principal LongGreekname, swamparium, MATH RAGE!!!
    You are hilarious :D
    - Ello

  15. bigguysmama -WHAT?!? See, that's what I'm talking about right there. My kid is in the lazy habit of 'out of sight, out of mind'. Meaning he buries the assignments in the bottom of his school bag and pretends there's nothing to do. We don't have an online homework check, so it's up to me to rummage through that bag with him every day. He gets into the habit after a bit, but I still hafta watch over him or he falls back into his old ways. AAAAAG.

  16. It's really really hard, JC.

    Paying for drug treatment later is harder.

    Be a hard-ass now.

    Just sayin'.

  17. Damn. I really should move this blog over to WordPress so I can reply directly to comments.

  18. Replace numbers with mice? 3 mice x 3 mice = 9 mice. Or hamsters - if a hamster has 10 babies, and she eats half of them, how many babies does she have left?

  19. Leslie - Are you serious? 100 multiplication problems in 5 minutes....are we talking like just times table stuff or double digits?

    I think your idea of practising the timing at home is really good. It's really true about keeping up with the math, I've seen it with both his older sisters. The math is ....well, it's farking relentless!! That's why I draw!

  20. Chloe - ...drug treatment? For me or the kid? Or ...the pets? I'm thinking I can deffo be a hard-ass. Probably.

  21. Carrie - Cannibalistic Nerd - Hey, that's creative thinking and I like it. Uh, you're really into cannibalism eh?

  22. Maybe for all three.

    I don't know.

    We sent our son to a program that had canine therapy. We got our son AND a dog back.

  23. We don't need to worry about this problem with math - NHL loves math and science too much. In fact, we have trouble keeping him from doing math. He'll be getting ready for bed and will blurt out "Dad, what's 11 times 42?" Or he'll be finishing an art project and, at the last second, toss in "10 + 25 = 35".

    Of course, he does go into rages like that when asked to do things he doesn't enjoy like cleaning up toys ("It's all my brother's mess! He did it all!"*), cleaning up his bed ("My brother made my bed messy he should clean it up!"**), going to the store ("My feet are killing me!"***) or just turning off the TV in general.

    * Yes, some of the mess is his 4 year old brother's fault, but he should learn to help clean it up.
    ** No, his brother is not to blame for his bed being a mess.
    *** Said after 3 steps have been taken and after being told (for the 50th time) that he's too old to ride in the shopping cart.

  24. I want to ride in the shopping cart - WAAAAAHH!

  25. Cartoon mouse math flashcards. Done.

  26. I am thinking the same as Ed. If passes math, keeps other pets cages clean, room clean. The latter on a consistent basis. Then a mouse. I have seen other parents give away kids pets when they do not take care of them.... kids were fore warned well in advance.

  27. TechyDad - Wait....your kid is named after the National Hockey League?

  28. Anonymous - We've been known to care forunwanted pets for the extent of their lives. I'm stubborn like that. I know that when the kids get a pet, I'm the one who is ultimately responsible for the animal. (When I say "I", I mean "we", meaning me and The Huz.)

    BUT IT'S WORTH IT. Cuz there's nothing like being peed on by an appreciative guinea pig.

  29. Yes, just the multiplication tables, but to get 100 done in 5 minutes, they have to know the answer the second the see the two numbers together. And that's really the goal going forward in math. (btw I suck at math and never learned the times tables well.) When they have to take timed math tests for SATs, there is no time to ponder what 12 x 8 is. As for pets, we had two frogs (water ones) from 1st grade. They both had long lives, with the last one floating in 12th grade. The one goldfish we have has lived with us since a Sponge Bob birthday party in 5th grade. (9 yrs) We're done with pets that aren't dogs from here on out.

  30. Ummm..maybe, you could get one of those "Math Tutoring Meeses" that you hear so much about and feed 2 birds with one stone?

    Just a thought :S

  31. Will the Boy get his mouse? Find out what happens in Part 2 of the story... HERE.

  32. You make me laugh.

    Out loud.

    And my little boy, too.



Cuz You Rocketh.