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Another Point of View

By: Grace Zhang

“Grace, come do math homework!” I say, while scrolling through Linkedin to stalk people. I stalk people to see what things make people so successful, or not successful- so I can later force my kids to do things they hate. Such as piano playing! I forced them to start playing when they were 4 years-old. I do it so they can win medal and trophies and make me look good on Facebook, Telegram, and WeChat!

“UGH I DON’T WANNA DO MATH!” Ah yes, my lovely daughter yelling again.

“Get in here right now! Haven't you seen Emily? She does the amount of homework you do in a year in ten minutes! And don’t forget Peng Laoshi’s kid! He’s better than you at reading and writing!” I retorted. I glare at her as she stalks in like a slug. “I’m too nice to you. Other kids do 10 pages a day! You only do 2!” Grace rolls her eyes and slumps onto a little white stool we got from IKEA.

She’s actually writing now so I glance over at the page to check her answers. I have to check them one by one since I don’t have the Kumon answer book. She can definitely feel my presence because she turns around and exclaims,

“What” in a flat manner.

“I’m just checking your answers while you’re writing because it saves time.” I respond. I already know what's going to happen. The girl’s going to stand up and trudge over to her room like a stiff stick. A few moments later and I hear her slamming her bedroom door.

I’m awed she actually did 3 pages in an hour. Normally it takes a fortnight for one measly page to be done. I can feel her staring at me as I check her answers. I glance up, but she's not staring. She is reading a book I ordered at the local library-- “When You Trap a Tiger,” by Tae Keller. I slide the booklet back to Grace, who ignores my wrong answer markings.

“Hurry up and correct it so we can go. I'm tired.” I say, staring down at my phone. Minutes later she leaves her seat again and goes back to her room.

I’m watching some dramatic Chinese soap operas, and suddenly realize Grace and Caroline need to practice their instruments! I walk over to Grace’s room where she is doing a lab experiment with my precious store-bought soap from Whole Foods and tell her to play piano.

“But I don't have a piece to play” She whines.

“Play violin then!” I say. She crawls down the stairs like a toddler and I follow her.

“Hey Grace, do you want to eat some snacks?” I ask, trying to tempt her. She turns around with a look of disappointment on her face.

“Seriously mom? I’m not an octopus, I can’t play violin and eat snacks at the same time?!”

“Then come eat some snacks first.” I reply. She trails me into the kitchen and I open the cupboard to see what's inside. I find some crackers and coffee candy which I grab a bunch of and Grace sits down and stares at me. “What?” I ask, my mouth stuffed with coffee candy.

“Nothing,” She says. “Are there no other snacks?” She said, scanning every shelf on the pantry. There was nothing. “I’m going to play violin now, I guess.”

“And you better play it good,” I say. She rolls her eyes at me and closes the piano room door.

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