Thursday, January 15, 2009

But How Much Longer in Nano Seconds and if the GW Bridge isn't Backed up?

My kids are obsessed with numbers. They should be math geniuses but not so much. I wish they were math geniuses, then I'd be a lot more patient with their quest to assign a numerical value to everything.

Oh hell, who am I kidding? They could be Stephen flippin' Hawkins and I'd still be annoyed.

We'll be driving somewhere, say to a cousins' house in another state, and right off the bat Brian and I hear, "How long until we get there?"

We try to blow them off with a, "I don't know, it depends on traffic."

Then we get, "Well, say that we don't have any traffic?"

We're caught at this point and everything goes downhill. If we say 4 hours, and we get there in 4 1/2 hours, we don't hear the end of it. If I overshoot and say 5 hours and it takes 4 1/2 hours, my son feels the need to admonish me, "But you said it would take 5 hours."

If we just say we don't know, they ask, "How many highways will we go on during the trip?" But it's not just highways, it's highways, regular roads, tunnels and bridges.

But that last one, that was my fault. I've discovered something in my 10 years of parenting, only I discovered it a bit too late. You can tell your children not to jump on the couch, to flush the toilet or to pick up their clothes over and over and over again. They won't listen. Play a number game with them and you have fallen into a hole of your own making...and there is no way out. On a long trip a few years ago, I thought I'd get out of the "how much longer?" game by saying that we'd be taking 7 highways. I said it once, once I tell you! And now, everytime we get in the car, it's "how many highways?" And yet, they still jump on the couch!

One night, sick of trying to get my kids to finish dinner, I said to them, "I bet you can't finish your rice in 10 bites."

Big mistake.

From then on I had guess the number of bites. Every night.

Or, if I tell my son, "I'll be there in just a minute." I can hear him, whispering, "one mississippi, two mississippi, three mississippi...."

If I'm not there by 60, I hear about it. Down to the last nano-second.

As my children have grown older, I've added to my numerical misery. At the pool one day, I saw my son cannonball into the pool and I said, "Wow, beautiful, I'd give that a 9.6." And it began. Now everytime I'm near a pool with my children, they immediately begin jumping into the pool asking, "what do you give that one mom?"

After the 15th cannonball they all begin to look alike. I feel sorry for the Olympic judges. Annoyed, I channel the Russian judge we all made fun of in the 1980's: "Well, that was awful, I give it a 3.2."

What is it with numbers and kids? Is there anyway to break them of this habit? And can you tell me how long this phase will last? In nanoseconds and with no traffic? onemississippi,twomississippi,threemississippi....

1 comment:

  1. Cute. And here I thought kids today just plug in their iPods or watch the DVDs in the back seat and never speak to their parents for the entire drive. I thought the days of "Are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet????" were over. I had no idea that not only are they not over, but that they have morphed into a numbers battle!

    Thanks for visiting back at my place...glad to make a new connection.