Week 15: Ember & Eva
(Ember gives Serena & Eva a math lesson)
“Yeah?” Ember asked.
“Can you help me with my homework?” Serena asked and held out a workbook.
“Sure. What is it?”
“What kind of math?” Ember asked.
“Math,” Serena, her ten-year-old daughter, looked at her in confusion.
“She’s got you there,” Eva said from her spot opposite Ember at the table where they were both working.
Her wife was grading papers. Ember was working on an equation for a colleague who had asked her to take a look.
“Can you help? Mom says she’s English and writing, and you’re math and science.”
“Who has history?” Ember asked Eva.
“I thought we could tag-team that one. Or, she could go to Aunt Charlie, who likes history stuff.”
Ember took the workbook from her daughter and noticed about twenty problems with fractions.
“You need help with this page?” she asked.
“Can you check them for me? I answered them all.”
Ember ran her hand over her daughter’s back and took a look at the problems on the page.
“They’re all correct. Nice job.”
“Really?” Serena asked.
“Yeah, you got them all right. Way to go.”
“Nice job, Serena,” Eva added.
“Can you check the next page, too? My multiplication tables.”
Ember turned the page and found simple multiplication problems. She reviewed them quickly and smiled. Her daughter was good at math.
“You got all these right, too,” she said.
“Probably why Mrs. Moore wants to meet us next week,” Eva suggested.
“Your teacher wants to meet with us?” Ember asked Serena.
“She said I’m doing well in class and that I’m not in trouble,” Serena replied and sat down at the round table between her two mothers.
“I’m wondering if it’s because she’s doing really well in math,” Eva said and winked at Ember.
“Do you like math, baby?” Ember asked her daughter.
“No, it’s boring.”
Eva burst out laughing.
“Math is… boring?” Ember asked.
“Yeah. I like when we get to write stories in school more.”
Eva laughed again.
“Eva…” Ember pled.
“Sorry, can’t help it.”
“But you’re good at math, Serena,” Ember said.
“It’s not hard, but I don’t like it.”
“What’s not to like about math?”
“Dinner is in about ten minutes. I don’t think we have time to go over all of that before we need to set the table,” Eva teased.
Ember gave her a playful scowl, set the workbook down, and said, “Did you know that in a survey, they asked people to tell them their favorite number, and ten percent of people chose the number seven, which makes it the most popular number in the world?”
“No.” Serena shook her head.
“What’s your favorite number?”
“Seven,” she said. “It’s my soccer number.”
“There are seven days in the week, a ladybug usually has seven spots, there are seven continents on Earth, and most mammals have seven neck bones. We’re mammals.”
“I know. I learned that in school,” Serena replied. “Why do most ladybugs have seven spots?”
“Because numbers are amazing, and math is everywhere. When your mom was making the cupcakes for your bake sale earlier tonight, she measured the ingredients using a measuring cup and spoons. They told her the amount she needed in numbers, and if she would have used the wrong amount, the cupcakes would taste bad, and they wouldn’t bake properly. When you play soccer, you have to kick the ball at a certain angle and with a certain amount of force for it to go into the goal, and the goalie has to take a certain angle and move at a certain speed to stop it, right?”
“That’s all math. Different types of math and science. It’s in everything. That’s why I love it so much.”
“But it’s still boring. Mrs. Moore said you have to sign my workbook because we’re all supposed to have our parents review our homework.”
“Are you bored in all classes or just in math?”
“Math mostly, but science is boring, too.”
Ember looked up at Eva, who shrugged a shoulder.
“I’ll sign your workbook for you, but maybe we can talk about some not-boring math things sometimes. You might like it.”
“Sure. Okay. But can I still watch TV?”
“Yeah, you can go watch TV,” Ember said with a little laugh. “Wash your hands for dinner, though, too.”
“Okay. Thanks, Mom.”
“Hey, if you want to teach me cool things about math later, you can,” Eva said with a smile. “I’ll happily volunteer as tribute.”
“You will, huh?” Ember laughed a little. “Is she bored because she’s smart, or just because she doesn’t like it?”
“Look at the workbook,” Eva replied with a nod.
Ember looked down and shook her head.
“Just turn a few pages. You’ll see.”
Ember turned to the next page and the page after.
“Were these all due this week?”
“Nope. She’s worked ahead. I checked it for her earlier because even I can handle fractions. I told her to go to you because I wanted you to see it, too. She’s finished half the workbook already. Don’t get your hopes up, though; it doesn’t mean she’s a supergenius like you.”
Ember smiled and asked, “Has she worked ahead on her English stuff?”
“No, she hasn’t. But there’s still time for her to follow in my footsteps. They’re doing reading comprehension stuff. I haven’t introduced her to the classics yet. And remember, she thinks math is boring.”
“Right now, she does. But I’ll win her over.”
“Win me over tonight?” Eva asked and wiggled her eyebrows.
Ember smirked and said, “I think that can be arranged.”