Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Math Problem

I've got a math problem.  My child likes math and I don't.

"This is fun," Katie announced from the kitchen table.  

My daughter is doing her math homework and she thinks it's fun.  Yes, that's right.  Fun.  I don't recall ever thinking math is fun, but I don't say this to my six-year-old.  I smile at her.  I keep doing the dishes, which is also not fun.  

Most everyone knows I'm math-phobic, but I'm in the closet around my daughter.  I want to give her a few years to develop her own attitude about the subject before she gets swayed by my tendency to hate it.  I regret dropping out of college because College Algebra was too hard.  If Katie ever drops out of college, I want it to be because she has better things to do, not because she wasn't up for the challenge like her slacker mother.

I wasn't always a slacker.  I'm just the kind of person who needs lots of validation and I didn't get enough from my accountant father who is better with numbers than with people.

I was once an enthusiastic student.  Highly sensitive, some would even say a cry baby, I was generally an eager achiever in elementary school.  Things changed in junior high.  When I was in seventh grade I proudly handed over my report card.  It was a new school.  New friends, well, no friends yet.  I still stayed pretty quiet and kept to myself.  I missed my old friends back home.  But I had all As and Bs and I was proud of myself for doing so well in my new school.  Then Dad laughed in my face and said, "Wow, all I ever got was Cs and Ds, except in math.  I always got As in math."

My math score plummeted after that semester.  I can't be like Dad.  What an asshole.  Math is for assholes.

I was merely thirteen when I formulated that oversimplification and translated it into a lifelong phobia of math.  Add twenty-nine years and I no longer equate math with the difficult man who is my father.  It can't be all bad if my sweet kiddo likes it.  Good correlative fun!