Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Silly Faces and Naked Numbers

On the way home from horseback riding yesterday Evie and I were cruising along a straight highway when a car pulled up on our left (Evie was deeply immersed in Harry Potter and missed the whole thing). Four teenage boys starting making goofy faces and clowning around, nothing rude or obscene, just silly. I smiled and made some goofy faces back. They started cracking up and clapping and then held up a sign (clearly made ahead of time) that said "Have a nice day!" and they sped away. It made me both smile and feel very sad. Smile because they were clearly just looking to have some fun, sad because this is what they have been reduced to--escaping school and making funny faces to a 30-something mom on the road. I did have a nice day.

Later, Evie was doing a page in a math workbook that sits on the kitchen table. It was a page of word problems. She looked up at one point and said "I love story problems!" I restrained myself from saying "Arrrgh! I hated them when I was your age." Instead I said, "Oh yeah? Why?" She responded, "'Cuz this stuff could actually happen. I don't know why you would want to divide 24 bananas among 6 of your friends but you could. Who uses naked numbers?" Stifling a laugh I asked, "What is a 'naked number'?" "You know, " she responded, "Like '2x7' with no point behind it. Some numbers are cool because they have patterns, like the nines but numbers are only useful if they have a purpose." I thought that was so profound. I have always liked math. However, I remember liking just "naked numbers" because I could memorize the answers and get on with things. Evie wants to (and can) USE numbers--I LOVE that!

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