Apparently, the 100th day of the school year is some sort of big deal. Who knew? Frankly, until now, I had no idea. Back in my day, the day before Christmas break was a big deal, but the rest of the school year was a blur of art projects, assemblies and bad school lunches. Not so these days. In our school district at least, the 100th day is a very big deal, a faux-holiday invented by teachers and school administration officials to honor the halfway mark in serving their annual sentence.

The 100th day is marked in every grade level and in every class in every school of the county. In Adam’s class they’re throwing a party, complete with games, books & cake – all with a 100 theme. In fact, the previous week has been a blur of 100-themed party-prep masked as homework assignments requiring countless hours of counting, cajoling, cutting & pasting. But last night’s assignment was the most troublesome of all…

Yesterday, as I bolted out the door with Adam, late for another doctor’s appointment, Miss Melissa yelled, “By the way – Adam needs to count out 100 pieces of candy or marshmallows tonight and bring them to school tomorrow for our 100th day cake. All the kids are going to decorate the cake and it would be a shame if Adam couldn’t participate.”

(For the record, that was a dig on my parenting skills/reliability with completing homework assignments. No wonder we miss so many of them since she communicates with parents by yelling out homework assignments as we’re walking out the door with chatty preschoolers distracting us. Uh, Hello? How about some sort of calendar or note in the backpack, maybe? I digress…)

Later, as I was making dinner for the kids, I asked Dick to help Adam with his homework assignment. Not to exclude Tabitha, Dick divided a bag of mini marshmallows between them on the kitchen table. Handing them empty cereal bowls, he helped them each count out 100 marshmallows and place them in their bowl. Adam’s counting skills are pretty stellar at this point, so he only required minor supervision to get exactly 100 marshmallows in his bowl. Tabitha’s counting is, shall we say, less accurate and more flexible.

In the rush of counting, kid clamor and dinner plate distribution, somehow Adam’s bowl of 100 marshmallows became mixed up with Tabitha’s bowl of who-knows-how-many marshamallows. As I stood at the kitchen counter, pouring over the now, identical looking, bowls of mini-marshmallows I found myself unable to discern which one was homework and which one was an exercise in distraction for the little sister.

“Dick! Which bowl is which?”

“The bowl that looks fuller is Adam’s homework.”

“They look the exact same to me.”


“Yep. Come take a look…”

Reluctantly, Dick rose from his desk chair to examine the marshmallows.


We dumped out all the marshmallows and counted out 100 of them. With exactly 100 marshmallows set aside, I secured Adam’s homework in a plastic baggie – and left them in “the spot” on the kitchen counter. “The spot” is the place we put anything that needs to leave with us in the morning. If it’s not in “the spot” it’s not leaving the house.

The next morning, as I was standing semi-comatose in the kitchen, I glanced at “the spot” and realized that the bag of 100 marshamllows was missing.

Panicked, I yelled, “Where are the marshmallows?”

“Undew my bed…I wanted to eat dem,” Adam confessed.

“Did you eat all the marshmallows?”

“Just some of dem…”

Adam retrieved the significantly smaller quantity of marshmallows from under his bed.

And, once again, Dick and I stood at the kitchen counter counting marshmallows. When all was said and done, we were short by 5. I almost said, “To hell with it”, and let the fact that we were missing 5 marshmallows slide. But I knew showing up with 95 marshmallows was just an invitation for a snide remark from Miss Melissa or a large red, depressing X next to Adam’s name on his homework assignment sheet. Frantically, I searched the pantry for a package of marshmallows to make up for the difference.

Suddenly, I remembered that the children’s Friday morning cereal has marshmallows in it. As the kids jammed dry cereal into their mouths, Dick and I pounced on them searching their cereal bowls for 5 marshmallows to complete, what had become by now, OUR homework assignment.

Later, with our 100 marshmallows safely at home in their baggie, Adam asked if he could hold them on the way to school.

“No!” Dick and I practically yelled in unison.

“Sorry buddy. We’re not going through this again. I’m in charge of the homework,” Dick said tucking the bag of homework inside his coat pocket.


I can’t explain it, but despite the best efforts of meddling children and treacherous teachers, Dick and I were united in our determination to get this assignment right. With the prospect of “real school” and “real homework” looming on the horizon, the pressure is on and we’re feeling it. We may be a few marshmallows short of a full bag when it comes to being disciplined & organized, but I think we may be getting better at this parenting thing…and that’s no fluff.

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