Mommypie and the Technicolor Dream Moat

Tuesday after work, I went to my regular volunteer gig at one of the local after school programs. It was cold and snowy and rather than freeze my butkus off


I opted to help out INSIDE the gym. First, I was asked to help a fifth-grade girl with her math homework.

Here’s where it’s important to note that math, in any way, shape or form, gives me hives. My brain just doesn’t work that way. Never has. Complete iron curtain.

“You know all about angles, right?” asked the teacher’s aide.

“Sure!” I answered. I also enjoy protractors, square roots, trailer park tornadoes and mind-numbing gas pain.

I moved on to my next student.

Who needed help with long division.

Er … okay, admittedly, it’s been awhile since I had to divide anything without the aid of a calculator, but meh — I thought it’d be cake. I had an inkling there might be a teensy problem when the answer came out to be something like 154823.2. I suggested we check our work and showed her how using multiplication. She did this:


GOT ABACUS?!? Clearly, I haven’t been in the math loop for awhile. Or EVER. What the hell is THIS? Come to find out she was a transfer from New York. And that made me feel better.

It was then my wayward inner teacher found her compass. A little boy sitting all alone with 25 tubs of Playdoh.

Oh yeah.

He wanted to make a castle. At his suggestion, I began with the cannon.


Which totally looked like a bubblegum cigar some expectant father should be passing out in a hospital waiting room. Or, according to my playmate, a big purple poop. Take your pick.

From there, our little project took on a life of its own. Kids quickly started coming to our table. Everyone wanted to build a part of the castle. I taught them what a moat was. They added alligators. The boys made bombs to protect the castle. The girls made food for the princess to eat inside the castle. The teacher aides looked at us with horror as they realized we MIXED the colors.


It was a thing of beauty.

AP Photo of Dick Butkus


Filed under Art Piece

17 responses to “Mommypie and the Technicolor Dream Moat

  1. Finn

    My kids do something called “mental math.” They sit there looking like they aren’t doing anything, and next thing you know, the correct answer is on the page. When they started division and I got out my trusty “scratch” paper to do times tables on the side, they looked at me like I had two heads. Okay, now I’m starting to sound like an old person. “Ya know, when I was a kid . . . . !”

  2. another co-worker

    I am absolutely delighted that the volunteer work I am forcing you to do for Leadership is having an impact. Yay! I’m a genius if I do say so myself.

  3. That table with all the angled lines? It looks like something from a college physics class. Which I never took. Thank GOODNESS my children aren’t in school yet. Though I’m terrified that math by then will involve spaceship-building-like calculations, and I”ll be sunk. How come the old fashioned way of doing long-division is “wrong” now? We got the right answers, didn’t we?

    Now, technicolor play-doh moats I can totally get my head around.

  4. “Um, help, this crazy lady is taking pictures of my homework!”

    Seriously, what the eff kind of math is that?!

  5. it looks like purple penis will weird little balls on the side. or… a cannon.

    OH C’MON! you guys were thinking the *exact same thing!

  6. Ok, seriously? That’s the most effed up kind of math I’ve ever seen. Maybe that child was a rainman (there are many of us out there) and had their own style of doing math. For all you know, they could have been a genius.

    On another note, I agree with MOFM, it’s a purple penis and you know it.

  7. Finn — Dude, I still count on my fingers.

    ACW — You ARE a jeanyus.

    MT & Blissfully Caffeinated — Seriously crazy. Apparently it’s called the lattice method? I dunna get it.

    MOFM & QB — Okay, I admit it. Dough Dick strikes again.

  8. OMG – I was thinking the same thing as MOFM! But thank god she said it before me – lol.

  9. I’d be right there with you at the fun table…that math looks scary!

  10. What the heck was that Math?

    I never saw such a thing……


  11. I LOVED math. I was even a math major in college for a while (a very short while, but still). And I have NO frickin idea what the heck that square thing is. I think I stared at it for a good five minutes trying to figure it out.

    Once playdoh hits our house it’s mixed within minutes. I’ve forgotten how pretty it can be. Purple! Maybe I should go buy some more and break it out on my own before handing it over.

  12. My kids are in the THIRD GRADE and if it wasn’t for the weekly math guide for parents, there are plenty of times when I’d have no idea how to help them with their homework.

    Apparently they don’t carry the one at her school. WTF?

  13. I’m with you on the math thing. I wanted to take the GRE’s but the math part freaked me out so badly I couldn’t do it.

    At least you’re crafty. I don’t have that skill either.

  14. “’Sure!’ I answered. I also enjoy protractors, square roots, trailer park tornadoes and mind-numbing gas pain.”

    Omigosh omigosh omigosh — my boss is having a meeting about six feet away from my desk and I was doing the hu-HUH hu-HUH hu-HUH silent shaking laugh over this line *SNORT**. I was praying they didn’t come look over my shoulder because I woulda had a tough time ‘splaining the Dough Dick.

  15. Hey! Is that a cannon in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

    It looks really moist. And creamy.

  16. Gigi's Daddy

    Definitely a smallish purple penis…

  17. Lex

    I consider myself pretty good at math. And I’m scared. What am I gonna do when my daughter needs help with her homework and she busts out with that deformed sudoku?

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