There are days when I feel that half a day has passed and it’s not even 8:15 a.m. Usually that thought hits me on the drive to school. Usually it’s in winter, after an endless search for a missing mitten.
It’s a miracle if we all make it into the minivan without me threatening to sell the children.
And then there’s the drive.
A couple of years ago, in a good parenting moment, I started playing Math with them while driving. I gave them number problems, and they figured out the answer (or not). The game went like this: “If Mommy, Daddy, Vivian, and William are home, and Grandma and Grandpa come to visit, how many people are in the house?”
They’ve become pretty good at it, too. So good, that I’ve started taking creative license with our problems. On a recent family outing, the scenario was this: “If Vivian and William are throwing Cheerios at each other and Daddy is still sleeping, how many people are left when Mommy runs away?”
Nothing like passive aggressive behaviour to make me feel better.
Lately, there’s been even more numbers swirling around our minivan. Every day for the past three months, Vivian and William have been telling me how many days they’ve been in school. Apparently their teachers told them they’d have a 100 Days of School party, and they’re using this as counting practice. The idea of 100 days doesn’t sound too bad, but add to it the fact that I’m a teacher and I’m in a slow-mo time warp.
“We’ve only been in school 93 days?” I ask one January Monday.
The day passes.
“It’s only Day 94?” I ask Tuesday. I’m more than aware that I teach 190 days of school each year. My math is good enough to know that we’re not even halfway there. No wonder why experts peg the end of January as the most depressing time of the year.
Day 100 closes in. New problem: each kid needs to bring 100 of something to school that day.
“How about hairs?” I ask. “There’s more than 100 on your head.”
It takes a while to silence their mass protest.
Vivian decides to bring her shell collection. William decides to bring 100 wheels (also known as 25 toy cars).
The 100th day – yesterday – goes well enough. It’s over, and for that I’m grateful.
Now, only 90 more to go.