I've heard of parents getting stumped by their kids homework before, but I assumed it was somewhere around grade four or five - not kindergarten. It wasn't a question of my knowing the alphabet, shapes or colors - although I recently learned my shapes and colors watching "Blues Clues." What had me stumped was the instruction.
"Find the letter B,b in the picture. Find words that start with the letter B, b. Color the picture."
The picture was a scene at the beach with items you'd normally find at the beach like a ball and a sailboat in the distance. Then there were the not-so-normal items like rain boots and a teddy bear. The picture looked more like a demented crime scene than a day at the beach - made me wonder if perhaps the same picture is used to test cadets of the N.Y.P.D. The instructions, instead of finding the letter b, would be, "Find the popular places to hide a crack pipe."
There must be some sick psychology involved because the first letter "b" he found was hidden in the palm tree - a branch and a coconut formed the letter.
I'm confused. He's confused. But I tell the kindergartner it's okay to color it in anyway and we moved on. I found a "b" nestled in the beach ball and tried to prod him to it.
"That's a b isn't it?" I say.
"No mommy, that's a 6."
He's got a point. It did look like the number six but I couldn't help it if the artist drew the picture with the precision of William Burroughs (he shot his wife in the head pretending to be William Tell).
"Well it looks like the number 6, but I assure you that's a small b."
"No it's a 6."
"Just color the damn beach ball!"
He colored then proceeded to look for more "b" items. Of course he instantly spotted the bottle half buried in the sand because he's seen enough empties half buried in our garbage can - even I overlooked that. The next hidden B we found was within a pair of glasses.
I never took acid but I was beginning to wonder if perhaps I was hallucinating. Am I missing something here - what's with hiding the letter in a word that doesn't start with it? Maybe I'm just taking this way too seriously.
I let it go and directed his attention to the banana.
"What about the banana," I asked. "Doesn't that start with b?"
"No mommy," he argued. "That's not a banana, it's a sausage."
Some things never change - homework blows.