Blog Archives

Unruly Arm Hair: The Bane of Math Instruction

After double-checking with Leanne, “The Mother of All Things Ironic,” we’re pretty sure this qualifies.

Monday I posted the letter found in 8-year-old MM’s backpack, wherein he explained to his mom and dad that his carpet time probably would have been more wisely spent listening to dreckens the first time than licking his elbow with his buddy, although the general consensus from those commenting was that elbow licking is a fairly impressive feat and it is therefore somewhat debatable as to whether that actually was time unwisely spent as the tone of the note would suggest.

But we could debate the relative merits of joint licking for hours and never make any real headway on the issue.

Monday night I got home from work and my wife showed me this, which she found in the backback of our 7-year-old son.


A smidge.

(You will notice, however, that “Productive” was not checked, which makes sense because he was getting something accomplished, and, admittedly, those arm hairs weren’t going to cut themselves off.)

So it could have been worse.

My real concern with this incident, other than the throttling the hairless-armed kid typically receives in the schoolyard, is that this occured during math instruction.

I fear that Nolan may have inherited my natural aversion to, and complete ignorace of, anything involving numbers, computation, or logic. Like checking account balances. If he goes through life with my mathematical ineptitude, being the hairless-armed kid will be the least of his problems.

But I’m choosing to believe that Nolan was simply disinterested in the task at hand rather than incapable of doing it. I’m also guessing that MM not listening to dreckens the first time can be chalked up to the same.

And apparently, when 7 or 8-year-olds get bored, they use whatever is available to entertain themselves.

Like their limbs.

And their tongues.

And sometimes, even scissors.

But, hey, they’re kids. They’re sapoest to do weird things.

Does Elbow Licking Count as Spending Time Wisely?

How does one spend time wisely?

Have you ever watched the person in front of you pull out his time ledger, cut a check for 60 minutes, hand it to the cashier at Wal-Mart, and say, “Yeah, this hour in the 20-items-or-less line was worth it. I spent this hour wisely.

As adults, do we confuse a responsible use of time with a wise use of time?

And who determines what is a wise use of time, anyway?

Eight-year-old MM’s teacher, that’s who.

Dear Mom and Dad,

I was not folowing the dreckins the first time or spending my time wisely becauz I was licking my elbow (with a friend – during a lesson at the carpet.)

From, MM

Sure, lessons at the carpet are a big deal, we all get that, but the ability to lick one’s elbow is an achievement that should be celebrated and shared, plus MM was building a sense of camaraderie with a classmate.

Sort of sounds like Facebook, which I’m sure we can all agree is spending time wisely.


Thanks to Jennifer for sharing this note she found in MM’s backpack via Tweetpic. You can read more about her life with  MM and his twin sister at And check her out on Twitter: @nuckingfutsmama.