Monday, 23 November 2009


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.


ree said...

I still think that Shortman loves 80s music because that's all we listened to when I was pregnant. ;-)

AmyMusings said...

Me too. Hated algebra. Loved geometry.

Magpie said...

Oy. I was trying to help the child with addition and subtraction this morning. It's not that I don't know how, it's that I don't know how to teach it...

mamatulip said...

Math. The very word makes me quake in my shoes. I'm the lone 'non-math head' in a family of math's rough.

Yo-yo Mama said...

Sorry, but I hate math. ALL kinds of math. When my number loving friend told me about how she would fill up notepads with numbers in sequence, I thought she was insane. Not only that, but when one notebook was full, she'd START OVER! When I told her that she wasted all that time and paper because there are only 10 numbers (0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9), just unlimited ways to put them together she about exploded. See? I'm crazy like that.

Speaking of which, I've awarded you a meme. Enjoy!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Wow! Super Maths Mom! Able to calculate sums in the billions. No wonder the kid worships you. When one day he figures out your secret, you can still be Super Geometry Mom!

apathy lounge said...

I wish I could go back and discover how NOT STUPID I really was in math.

Suzanne said...

Algebra makes sense for me. I hate geometry.

Don't you love the imaginary number addition they come up with sometimes?

Anonymous said...

I have promised myself to never say "I hate math" in front of my daughter. I was decent in math until I had a bad teacher and sometimes I think all we need is a good teacher and a bit of confidence. There seems to be a real stigma against girls & math.

Thankfully for my daughter her Daddy is a mathematician/physicist and can help her when she needs it.

Stomper Girl said...

Mine love it when I quiz them. Except when I make them too hard obviously. We have a times table poster in out kitchen and I keep wondering if I should relocate it to the bathroom for them to contemplate... at leisure.