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STATE OF MIND
We got talking at dinner time about the fact that our kids don't know a lot of American history. Yesterday I was doing a quick anacrostic that I had printed out before we flew home to do on the plane and then forgot about, and it was titled "Are you smarter than a grade schooler?" Martin was sitting with me while I was flying through the answers, and then complained that all the questions were too "American". In other words, you had to have been educated in the States to know most of them. So, tonight, back on the subject, sort of, Karin said she didn't think she could name all the States.

"I bet you can name more than you think," I warbled, and grabbed a pencil off the fridge and flipped over a piece of paper on the table. "Shoot!"

She started with Illinois and Michigan and I started writing down the 2-letter state abbreviations in a column.

IL
MI
FL
CA
NY
WA
TN
NC
SC
TX
WY
ID
HI (I didn't think that was right when I wrote it down, but turns out it is!)
ND
SD
OR
VA
WV (Karin then asked if there was a South Virginia)
VT
AK
AR (which she pronounced R-KANSAS. Cue mad giggling)
IN
PA
GA
MD
AL
MN
MS
KY

and then she got stuck. Really and totally stuck. "C'mon," I encouraged, "You're doing great." Struggle, struggle, think, think. Anders and Martin started giving her clues. 29 states down, 21 to go. And under extra pressure because she had to go get changed and ready for innebandy practice as we had to leave in 15 minutes.

CO
NJ
NM
NV
ME

...all with a LOT of help, but she DID finally come up with them. At that point, 34 states down, with Karin out of the room, yelling questions from the bathroom, Anders and Martin started trying to figure out which ones were left. "Oklahoma," said Martin, "Write them down on the back."

I turned the paper over, wrote OK, looked at it, looked up at Martin and then busted out laughing at the same time he did, while Anders looked on at us bellowing like hyenas, with complete bewilderment. I gave myself a headache laughing.

So now there were two parallel contests going on. Karin still trying to come up with as many more states as she could before our departure deadline and Martin and Anders trying to finish the list, too. I struck out the ones on their list as Karin got them.

Karin
MA
CT
LA
AZ
IA
MO
WI
NH
NE
RI
Martin/Anders
OK
AZ
NH
MA
RI
IA
MT
DE
WI
KS

Years ago in school one of my social studies teachers used to make us do lightning pop quizzes naming all the states IN ORDER. All I remember from it, though, is that there is one state starting with G, one state starting with H, and 8 each for M and N.

Karin had come up with 44. Anders and Martin had gotten an additional 4. As Karin and I headed out the door, Martin and Anders were puzzling over the fact that I had told them they had forgotten a big one.

Because of innebandy and shopping and putting groceries away and finishing laundry and then getting distracted by the last level unconquered on Where's My Water? we never got back to the game. After the kids went to bed, I came in to give them goodnight kisses and hugs and as I left Martin's bedroom, he whispered, "UTAH" behind me.

But nobody, not even me, remembered Ohio.
 silly
mood: silly
music: Davd Bowie—Where Are We Now?


Comments

She did pretty well!

I thought so, too, all things considered!

(Anonymous)
From Megsie

I am horrible at this. I can NEVER get them all. I Sarah can...they had to do Fifty-Nifty United States last year and they also had another song that was much more catchy and didn't change the melody so it was easier to memorize. I always end up missing something obvious too. It makes me crazy!

Have I told you lately that you are a brilliant mom? You are.

Re: From Megsie

I can usually get them all but it takes me longer nowadays :) I watched the Fifty Nifty song and thought it was nowhere near catchy enough to help remember all the states!

(Anonymous)

Fifty Nifty used to be my tried and true way of remembering them all, but now I have to go through the map or I forget the middle states!

julia@kolo

I never heard of Nifty Fifty before I posted this; you're the second person who mentioned it.

I had a friend from Ohio who used to say that the most usual response she got when she answered the question of "Where are you from?" was "Oh! I thought Ohio was a city".

I agree with the previous commenter: you are a rocking mom.

haha! Poor Ohio. Martin asked me what it was renowned for and sadly, besides the Toledo Mudhens, whom my college roommate (who was FROM Toledo) used to refer to as the Toledo Buttheads, which sounds the same if you say it fast, and Cedar Point, I couldn't think of a thing.

Haha! Clearly you were not in the US for this past election cycle as the only state in the whole union seemed to be Ohio.

Unsurprisingly, I always start from Maine and work my way south, then west, filling in the map in my head as I go. I'm impressed your kids did that well, I'm sure mine would not.

Edited at 2013-01-10 02:29 pm (UTC)

I use the map in my head to get them all, too. I remember once having to draw and label the country and all the states from memory for my kids a couple of years back and I'm glad to say I did really well at it! Good thing I don't get asked to name all the Swedish landskaps very often. I suck at that!

(Anonymous)

I'm so disappointed they didn't remember Kansas - hopefully you got your Christmas card all the way from my state this year! We had to learn a song in fifth grade that included all the states in alphabetical order - I still sing it occasionally. :)

-Heather

Martin & Anders got Kansas, it was last in their list though.

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