I hate math.
Really. Loathe the stuff.
Well, actually, that's not quite true. I really liked geometry. But algebra? Pah. There was no helpful visual, no absolute rules - just a bunch of letters mixed up with addition and subtraction signs, arranged whichever way to encourage maximum confusion.
But I know that math persists (like an evil rash) and that like it or not, my children would be learning it.
When Cass was a baby, I used to (oh, the shame! The misplaced-but-ever-so-earnest novice parenting! The determination to make my baby the best he could be!) whisper the multiplication tables to him as he fell asleep. (It beat croaking out another rendition of Blackbird all hollow.)
I don't kid myself that it did anything for him. It didn't give him some secret boost, some indefinable leg up in the grand scheme of things.
It did, however, keep me from falling asleep. Usually.
I'm pretty sure he has no memories of me hanging over his crib, hissing numbers at him, and that's probably a good thing....
So now we just practice. I'll be in the kitchen, and I'll holler.
'Cass! What's 120 plus 53?'
First there'll be some mumbling (and some grousing) and he'll think about it a bit and whip out the answer.
After awhile, he'll get tired and start shouting math problems at me. Usually of the 'One hundred million billion plus...lemme see....six hundred and forty-two. Plus three.'
Then he's amazed when I call out. 'One hundred million billion, six hundred and forty-five!' (He hasn't yet figured out that bigger numbers doesn't always mean harder math.)
'How did you do that, Mom? Did they teach you in school?'
And I think back to those nights when I'd watch his wee little eyes feather shut and lovingly whisper:
'Eight times six is forty-eight. Eight times seven........'
Oh yes, baby boy. In school.