from The Story of Diva and Flea,
as told and shown by Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi
My favorite homework related exchange of the week was this:
Nicholas: Hey Julia! Munch. Munch. Swallow. Do you have math homework?
Julia: Yup. Pops leftover breakfast pancakes in microwave.
Nicholas: Wanna do it together? And listen to 39 Clues at the same time?
Julia: Slam. Yeah!! Looks for something to glam up the heating pancakes in the fridge door.
Nicholas: head in snack cabinet, rustling, spilling, leaving bags open, I can hear the granola getting stale. Cool!
They actually kind of sort of skipped off into the family room to do their math homework together that day. So there's that...
With two children in middle school, our afternoons often contain a good deal of school work. Which leaves Elliott on his own sometimes when he gets home from school, without the company of siblings he usually has to play a game with or listen to an audio book with, or pester a cat with. He fills his time, working along side them, often drawing, reading, listening to an audiobook with headphones on, so as not to distract someone who might be writing an assignment.
I find I have Elliott sitting across from me most nights while I am cooking dinner. Reading aloud to me sometimes. Reading silently at others. Working on some kind of wacky craft project usually. He is very good company in the kitchen.
I had snatched up Mo Willems and Toni DiTerlizzi's new book, The Story of Diva and Flea as soon as it came into our library branch. Yes, I may have been lurking online waiting for it to come in...
Because it is Mo! And Tony! Need I say more. Which leads me to what just may be my favorite Author's and Illustrator's Notes ever.
Elliott was as excited about this book as I was. He read it for his nightly independent reading assignment.
I was stirring the stew pot, but I took a quick break a few minutes in, after he called me over, saying, Mommy! Look, I love this picture. It's what dogs see.
And I dashed into the living room to grab a pencil and a few sheets of paper. Without saying anything I set them next to him. He glanced at them, didn't say anything, and read on. I returned to the stove.
I stirred on. Elliott finished reading, set a can of tomatoes atop the book to hold it open to a certain page (sorry, Portland librarians) and grabbed the pencil and got to work. He first filled out his reading log. Added his doodle, the completely sweet and special dialogue he has going on with his teacher, closed the log and slid it to the side.
Meanwhile, in the living room, I heard Nicholas ask Julia how to spell a word he was using to annotate Shakespeare. And in the kitchen, Elliott was taking notes on his text. In his own way.
He even added dialogue.
Elliott headed off to the living room to practice piano and Julia arrived in the kitchen. Famished. So hungry my soul feels empty, she announced.
She slammed around in the cabinets for awhile, snatched a few things I was chopping on the cutting board threw everything in a bowl, and still had a free hand to snatch up Diva and Flea and take it back to her homework area. A few minutes later, I heard giggling coming from that spot. And I suspected it wasn't the algebra.