Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Real Numbers

I am currently open to various forms of penance.

I have never considered myself very good at math.

Tonight, in an effort to overcome my own stupidity, I embraced 7th grade algebra.

Let me be clear I don't want to help Emma with her math...ever. To me, middle school algebra homework is no more than a swirling sea of numbers and symbols and letters solely designed to make me look dumber than my daughter. It is a blessing and a curse to have a kid who pretty much came out of the womb smarter than I am. I know at any moment she could realize this fact and I am not trying to hurry that up AT ALL. Of course she may have already deduced her intellectual superiority and is just too smart to say anything. Either way I am not trying to put myself in any precarious positions in that regard; I typically stick to the stuff I know.

My own math weakness is one of the many reasons I have Leif. He went to business school at University of Chicago for all the right reasons...professional advancement, social net working, and of course because it was his life long goal. I mean, duh, isn't it yours? Once while I was dusting I glanced at some of his homework and I pretty much had to sniff the Pledge just to get the icky visions out of my head. Personally, I am thrilled he went to school just so I can keep up my mom charade and never have to face math homework unless he goes out of town. On those rare occasions Leif is unavailable in this essential capacity I phone a friend or consult my trusted kid math for grown-ups book.

Tonight, however, I helped Emma tackle her math homework while Leif was home. Against my better judgement, I added and subtracted real numbers. I determined absolute value and faced both decimals and fractions of opposite signs. I found my way to three basic algebra websites, referenced my trusted math manual, and read all the applicable lessons in Emma's text book. I think I helped her, but I didn't enjoy it.

The simple fact is I did something really stupid and unintentionally mean today. I thought if I did something uncomfortable I would feel a little better...so I exposed a little weakness and subjected myself to a little bit of scrutiny. I created my own equation and considered absolute zero. And while this may not make sense to you, as dumb as I can be, I feel just a little bit smarter.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mel love, Your confession so poignant
and so utterly my perspective too...I totally relate Nonna Nancy

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