It's four P.M., Tuesday afternoon. My daughter has been picked up from school and has had her afternoon snack. It's time to check her backpack for the dreaded homework. After she spends half an hour on the computer and has written her Hebrew letters, it's time for a coloring assignment. "Here," I say, "start with this picture." It's a fun drawing of Noah's ark, with all kinds of animals. The accompanying teacher's note reads "please color," and I add that it means "color nicely." Apparently there is some misunderstanding on my daughter's part about the exact meaning of this adjective, because when I check on her five minutes later, she is hard at work, coloring the whole page green. Elephants, lions, giraffes - they are all the color of grass.

When I ask her what she thinks she's doing, she claims not to understand what I mean. Mind you, this is the girl who has colored several thousand pictures in her short life. I know, the evidence creeps like a fungus all over my house. There are pictures in the dining room, the kitchen, and the bathroom. Some are in frames, some are in a folder hiding behind the couch, and many have been sent overseas where family members can do with them as they please. This girl colors with a vengeance; it is as natural to her as breathing. But suddenly, when it's homework, she forgets how.

After I've carefully copied the original drawing on a new piece of paper, we move on to her English assignment. There is quite a bit of it, and it carries us past dinner and uncomfortably close to bedtime. Since when does she have this much homework? I have a sneaking suspicion that this is, shall we say, extra stuff, sent home for the heck of it, and that the teacher doesn't intend for her to finish all of it. But no, my daughter won't hear of it. "We have to do it all, Mom! Really!" Suspicious mother that I am, I think she's lying. Nonetheless, I relent. After all, what if she's right, and by some fluke this six-year-old actually has two hours worth of homework to do? Besides, if she doesn't finish, I'll feel as guilty as if I was back in first grade myself, and this was my own personal homework.

I am fully aware that this should be the other way around. I have never mastered this trick, but my daughter is a natural. It must have skipped a generation, because I find myself sandwiched between two guilt-inducing geniuses. Lucky me.

So she writes words on the pages, fills in missing letters, circles the ones that have been misspelled. She doesn't miss a beat. She's obviously some kind of prodigy for knowing that cat is not spelled with two "t's." After the green page debacle, faith in her brainpower is restored. My daughter is smart; she's going to go through first grade without any problems. High school will be a breeze; Harvard, here we come! She will be a lawyer, she will be a doctor, and she will be a famous artist in her spare time. There is nothing she can't do. Until she comes upon the picture of a fish. There is an arrow pointing to the top, accompanied by "__-I-N"…

"SIN!" she writes enthusiastically. Oh well.