Mums and sums*

maths week

A few friends kindly posted Facebook links to some old blogs of mine yesterday, prompting me to have a quick flick through some of my old witterings (OK, it was over an hour of me weeping with nostalgia and laughing at my own jokes. I have never claimed to be modest so don’t pretend you’re surprised).

Anyway, it occurred to me that I haven’t bored you with tales of written about my daughter for a while, so allow me to provide an update. AB, glorious, mighty AB, queen of the world (the world in this case being a semi detached house in Orpington), is now 5 years old and goes to school.

Any parent will tell you that when children go to school it is simply magical to watch them grow, discover the magic of reading, of writing, of maths. What they will not tell you is this. School age children can be really, really annoying. They will come home from school speaking in other childrens’ voices, parroting out opinions that are opposite to yours. Suddenly, instead of the one person who knows everything, who has a magical ability to answer questions, to fix things, you are demoted to being just a little bit shit compared to everyone else. The beliefs you’ve spent 5 years building up are dismissed with a wave of the hand because someone in the playground told her otherwise (“girls can’t run fast because it isn’t pretty”). You know nothing about how to write letters. Even your cooking is inferior to that of the friend’s mum who cooked her tea last week.

Of course, you can’t take it personally and I don’t. Much. OK, OK, I might do, sometimes (most of the time). But what possibly makes it worse is the cringing, hideous realisation that I was exactly the same. My poor mum! I distinctly remember coming home from Brownie camp and demanding that in future we should have mayonnaise instead of our usual salad cream. The older I got, the worse I became. When I was little, my mum made the best chips, seriously. Proper potatoes in a deep fat fryer. But they weren’t good enough for the childhood me, who had oven chips at her friends house and thought that they were so much better and more sophisticated.

The trouble is, in AB’s case, is that in some areas she is right. I do know nothing. I know nothing about maths, for example, despite her school’s best attempts to keep parents informed about latest practices by holding “Maths Week!!” – a week long celebration of maths, during which they tried to make it sound exciting by adding more and more exclamation marks!! as the week!!! went on!!!!

Hubby and I dutifully went to  a presentation during Maths Week!!!!! Seemingly, there are now 5,000 ways of learning maths, none of which bear any relation to anything I did at school. There are number lines, and clusters, and “chunking”, which apparently has nothing to do with that one last tequila slammer that seemed like such a good idea at the time. Who knew?

I tried ever so hard to keep up. I did, honestly. But one sniff of the PE apparatus lining the wall, and the wooden floor and the plastic chairs, and the lady who was so very, very teacherish (yes it is a word, don’t interrupt) at the front and within minutes I was transported back to my own school days – bored senseless, daydreaming, Not Applying Myself and wondering how long it was until home time, when I could have a lemon curd sandwich and watch Grange Hill.

Luckily, my husband is good at maths (take note, youngsters. Always marry someone who can do the things you suck at. Although don’t base your choice of partner solely on that, obviously. You might want to actually, like, be in love with them or something.). So maths assistance will have to be his domain. But of course, in the eyes of our daughter, he will know nothing.


*obviously this blog is only about mum, singular (ie, me), and sums. But that didn’t rhyme. Just to clarify I am well aware that plenty of mums will have no problem at all with the mysterious art of chunking.




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