I took my kids to the flight museum today. The minute we stepped foot in the place, my daughter started firing questions at me. How long does it take to get to the moon? Who flies the airplane when a pilot needs to go to the bathroom? When an astronaut goes to space, how do they go to the bathroom and not get it all over the place (Please catch this potty trend so I need not continue with it.)? How come flight attendant uniforms used to look cool and now they are so ugly (looking at the once-upon-a-time Halston dresses for Braniff)? What made the Wright brothers want to fly? Didn't they realize how dangerous that could be? Were they not smart? Why don't they use regular seat belts on airplanes, like the ones we have in the car? What does "lose cabin pressure" mean? How do airplanes stay in the air?
All the questions made my head spin (and made me want a shot of something stiff for my Diet Coke). I left the place realizing one thing: I need to get my smart on. You heard me. I don't have enough answers for my kid. Well, let's be honest, I am simply not smart enough to keep up with kids these days.
My girl is set to start first grade here in a few weeks. I've told her about wearing a uniform, getting to bed early, getting up early, and homework. I've talked about homework a lot. I mean, I've whipped that horse (It's dead.) and school hasn't even begun. I realized today, at the flight museum, that I don't talk of homework all the time to prepare her. I am doing it because I am scared sick. Folks, I fear that my daughter's homework, for first grade, will be an absolute kick in the britches for this college grad.
There are often times that I feel absolutely flummoxed by a kid, and not just mine. I'm talking any old, run-of-the-mill youngster. A friend's son once asked for help with his homework. "Sure," I said, with a spring in my step. It turned out to be long division and this old gal couldn't remember all the steps. Do you carry a one or add a zero or what? Think of some questions you could face. Or, better yet, let me give you a few.
Why is the sky blue?
Is a turtle a reptile or an amphibian?
Who was the 14th president?
How much does Earth weigh?
How many pairs of wings does a housefly have?
How many countries are in Asia? (This was a recent one thrown at me during the Olympics opening ceremonies.)
If you could easily answer each of these questions without even a thought, well then stop reading this because you are way too intelligent for this pup. But, if you stumbled or couldn't come up with an answer, then here's what I've come up with. I am no longer going to fear homework. Instead, I am working on my master plan: The Diversion (not to be confused with division).
When my kid, or any other off the street for that matter, throws a hardball question at me, I am going to change the subject. Fast. I'll make them forget they even asked. Here's the scene:
Kid: "Jen, why can I see the moon even though it's the middle of the day?"
Jen (uh, me): "Oh, my goodness, is that a dog with pink hair? Wait, I see Justin Beiber at that gas station. Oh, want a lollipop?"
1. Always have candy on hand.
2. Always have a go-to distraction (it doesn't at all matter if is in no way real).
3. And, if all else fails, run. You heard me, run from the children. Seriously, run as if a rabid dog was at your heels. And when they ask why you ran, because they will most certainly ask, hand them a candy bar. It works every time.