Archive for November, 2011

Calculated Meal

My head is full of snot and Sudafed at the moment but I’m pretty sure the conversation at dinner last night went like this:

Sam:  “Hey, Mom, did you know there’s as many numbers between 0 and 1 as there are between 1 and infinity?”

Me (clutching a mug of chicken broth):  “Mmh?”

Paul:  “Everybody knows that.”

Sam (perplexed):  “I don’t see how that can be true.”

Paul (condescending):  “It is.”

Sam:  “Shouldn’t the space between 1 and infinity be bigger?”

Paul:  “The numbers between 0 and 1 are also infinite.”

Sam:  “Shouldn’t the other infinity be bigger?”

Paul:  “Infinity’s infinity, doofus.  You don’t know anything about math.”  (gearing up) “What’s the square root of -1?”

Sam (skeptical):  “You can’t take the square root of a negative number.”

Paul:  “It’s i.”

Sam (incredulous).  “i is a LETTER.  Not a NUMBER.”

Paul:  “It’s the square root of negative one. I studied this for TWO WEEKS.”

Sam:  “But what IS it?”

Paul (not really understanding the concept either):  “A little squiggly i with a dot.”

Sam:  “?”

Kate:  “What’s the square root of -2?”

Paul and Sam throw her irritated looks.  She ignores them.

Kate:  “H.  That’s what comes after i.”

As it happens, choking warm chicken broth up into your nose as you laugh is no more comfortable than tea.

Strategies for Homework

So Kate’s working on her math homework.

The problem’s is 57 – 23.  There’s a big blank space beside it for notes.  The instructions say ‘Show your work.’

We look over Kate’s shoulder when she says she’s finished.  The answer’s there (34), but she must have done the work in her head because in the scratch-page section she’s written:  ‘Used my bakgrond nolej.’

That’s ‘used my background knowledge’ in regular English and apparently it means, “I got this.  Why should I draw you a picture?”

Punday Morning

On the way to school…

Mark:  “Why are trees called ‘trees’?”

Me (straining to figure out an answer for the five-year-old that does not involve Old English):  “Weeelll, it’s the word we as the speakers of English have mutually agreed upon…”

Mark:  “I know why.”

Kate (bloodhood-keen on the scent of a bluff):  “Why?”

Mark:  “Umm…” (inspiration strikes) “Actually, I don’t know.  I’m stumped.”

He elbows his sister triumphantly.  “Get it?  Trees?  Stumped?”

Kate:  “Pfft.”

But his pun-based distraction ploy worked.  She didn’t ask him again.

Kindergarten Slang

One of the (myriad) hazards of simultaneously raising a teenager and a kindergartener…

Mark careens across the living room on his scooter, lays it down like a motorcycle, and both it and he slide across the wood floor.  He tips his head like a wolf and howls, “EPIC!”


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