Saïd had to leave early this morning for work, so when the rest of us finally got out of bed, the house was silent and cold and I was responsible for breakfast. Which is never really a good thing. But we managed, and the house started buzzing as we got ready for our day.

Factoring in that it wouldn’t be our normal Friday routine (since spending the afternoon at Julie’s house, with piano and horseback riding, was cancelled), I considered what we could do today. A stack of books from the Grande Bibliothèque, maxed out on renewals, leered at me from a dusty corner of the living room.

Zahra had Knitting Circle at her teacher’s new house in Pointe-Claire, so I packed up Noah and Leila’s math work for the day along with the library books and a lunch. While Z continued her socks, we sat at the Starbucks in Chapters and figured out how many days Noah has been alive. I’m seriously loving the new math program. Noah doesn’t know how to multiply yet, so he had to do a lot of writing and a lot of adding, but he was so excited about it that he had to stand at the table and shift from foot to foot while calculating.

harrison fordHe only got distracted once, when he looked up into a magazine stand and exclaimed, “Hey, that looks like Han Solo, just older!” And it was. Harrison Ford on the cover of GQ with the headlines “Gentlemen’s Quarterly is Sixty” and “Harrison Ford is Forever”. Yes. Yes, he is.

The time went too fast, as it always does in a bookstore, and soon we had to pack up and go pick up Zahra. This knitting group has been such a fantastic find! Zahra is getting the help she needs to hone her knitting skills, she’s setting aside time each week to work on her project, she’s hanging out with a great group of women—and we both love her teacher, Paola. We took a few extra minutes to tour Paola’s new home. It is a cavernous old house with tremendous character, and every time you think you’ve reached the end of it, there’s another turn or a staircase. It’s incredible! It also needs an incredible amount of work. The house is bursting at the seams with potential, and I was quickly charmed and sucked into her excitement for a big project.

When we remerged into the front yard, it was time to head to the downtown library. The kids listened to music and Zahra knitted while I returned books, did some research and renewed our library cards. We didn’t stay long because we had one last destination in mind. And so we ate lunch on the way to the Dorval pool.

We had the entire place to ourselves! We asked for the slide to be opened, and it was opened. We asked for the jets to be turned on, and they were turned on. We had two lifeguards watching for our safety alone. We couldn’t stop laughing at the absurdity of it all and made up stories about being royalty. And even though I couldn’t swim laps, I got a decent amount of exercise playing pool basketball and keep away, fetching pool rings, and throwing kids into the water.

The one good thing about Said leaving early is that he came home early, too. And so we all had dinner together, which doesn’t always happen at our house. After dinner, I wanted Zahra to do her math work. She dutifully got out her notebook. She was pleased at how quickly she put together her factoring hypothesis and moved on to testing it. But testing it is a long, slow process and I could see her losing steam.

“Is factoring making you sad?” I smiled. I got a sideways glance.

“I wish I could just skip this part. I know my hypothesis is right. I don’t want to spend my whole life factoring.”

“Skipping the testing part would be excellent science, don’t you think?”

Grumble, grumble, glare.

Meanwhile, in the living room, Saïd and Noah were tackling a math problem about tackling. Or football. My contribution was to remember the word “punt”. I was pretty proud of that.

“Why does Noah get to work with Daddy? I’m all alone!” Zahra whined.

“Whaaaaa? You’re working with me! I’m right here!!” I replied, loading the dishwasher.

Grumble, grumble, glare. Drastic times call for drastic measures. Or a song.

“Ooooooooooooh, I’m the number 200 and I have so many factors, here they aaaaaaaaaare!” I sang.

More glaring, roll of the eyes…but small smile, too.

“1 and 200, 2 and 100, 4 and 25…”

Now, laughter.

“It was well-meaning, but you see now how you need a more methodical method than song and dance to find factors. How about a little jig, just to keep our spirits up?”

She declined. But she managed to finish the factoring problems.