Sunday, April 03, 2005

Plus Or Minus 

Willow's interested in numbers; at four months shy of three years old she can already count to ten in her sleep, wants to know the exact age of everyone and their brother, and understands clearly the relationship between the act of counting and the number of fingers she's holding up.

Tonight daylight savings time threw us all off a bit sleepschedule-wise, so when the usual clocktime bedtime had come and gone, I introduced the concept of counting sheep. No problem there. I thought I'd try a little subtraction, just to see if she could do it.

I am proud to report that not only can the little genius easily visualize the numbers one through four well enough to figure out, without ever having encountered the idea of subtraction in any form, all the positive integer permutations of subtraction from four through two, she even pushed me past my own expectations near the end of the exercise:

Okay, Willow, let's say I have four sheep, and you eat -

I want to eat four of them!

Uh...okay, if you have four sheep, and you take away one two three four sheep, then how many do you have left?

Not! No! Not any sheep, Daddy! An' if there's one more again, I have one, and then if I have two sheep, I can only have two sheep...

And voila, the genius anticipates, and subsequently invents, the idea of zero without even having a word for it. Let's hope the second one is an artistic genius or something -- it's going to hard to compete with the logical skills of the older sibling.

In other subtractive news, the countdown to baby birth day continues. The planned C-section is just ten days from today. I'll be in New Jersey for at least three of those days pursuing the jobsearch, and will work every other workday between now and then, right up to (and including) the day before the birth itself. Total remaining number of days to be home, quietly, and enjoy our remaining life as a family of three: two.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:38 PM |

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