catch forty winks

In ALL by Stephanie KleinLeave a Comment

The brains of my ever sweet beans have turned into oatmeal. Yes, it’s summer, and they deserve a break from the homework. It’s a time to explore new books, fair enough, and to dig… into the sand, into the soil, into a bowl of ice cream. Find their passions. Follow the leader.

I’ve been the leader, whisking them off to Coney Island, to the New York Botanical Garden, followed by Italian food on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. Maybe this weekend we’ll head back to Governor’s Island.

With the close of each day, I encourage (read: force) them to write in their journals. Just pick one detail from the day and give it a clear beginning, middle, and end. You’d think I’d asked them to take a standardized test. The groans and whining, the deep sighs. I know. I’m horrendous. Tough tatas.

I also make them practice piano and work at touch-typing on a keyboard. I cover their hands with a blanket so they cannot cheat. I’m awful.

What’s worse? Today I opened a vocabulary book for kids, which also included common phrases and idioms. Idioms, idioms, I am an idiot. How have I never heard of the expression, “Catch forty winks”? It sounds like something having to do with a butterfly kiss. Or maybe a frozen yogurt flavor from Bloomingdale’s Forty Carrots restaurant.

To “catch forty winks” is to take a nap. Not land of nod deep sleep, but a quick cat nap.

How about this one: “Great oaks from little acorns grow”? How have I never heard this, not once, in the entirety of my life? I thought it maybe hinted around a family tree, and was on par with looking at the tree to see how the acorn will turn out (as in, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree). Nope. It’s meant to say that a small undertaking can lead to great results, just as a tiny acorn can grow into a massive oak.

Apparently I’m the one whose brain has turn to oak-meal.

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