When I was a junior in high school, I convinced my principal that I was destined to be an artist and therefore had no need for math knowledge in my future. Wouldn’t sculpture and painting serve me far better in life than useless things like calculus and geometry? Of course they would I reasoned, and for some bizarre reason, he gave into me. And I was right. Other than calculating tips or dividing restaurant bills in half, I proved that I could pretty much live without math or any kind… and then I had to go and have three children.
My days are now filled — no consumed — with the math I so despised.
Yesterday, I caught myself counting out the Goldfish as I put them in a bag because, God forbid, one child get a single cracker more than the other. If I’m buying a box of granola bars or packs of cookies or bars, I know I have to buy more than one if they come in a number not divisible by three. I always have three bottles of sunscreen in my beach bag so everyone gets to go first, and the kids have literally divided my body up when we cuddle so they each get the same amount of me. Nothing like being objectified by your children.
I remember this phenomenon well from my own youth. “It’s not fair,” my brother and I would frequently cry when one of us got more of something than the other. “It’s not even!” and “You love her/him more” were staples in my household. And I know we drove my parents crazy, but at least with the two of us, things could be evenly divided. We each got a hand to hold. We each had a knee to sit on. We could both sit in the back seat (though I did argue my way to the front.) We could each get half of anything and everything. With three, it’s impossible to make things even all the time and someone is always getting the short end of the stick, no matter how hard I try.
Maybe I should have stuck with math after all.