Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Three Questions in My Head

A few days ago, my son and I were sitting at the kitchen table, eating breakfast. He turned to me.

"Daddy, I have three questions in my head right now."

"All right," I said, bracing myself. Questions about monsters? Volcanos? The sun? God?

"How many hours are in a day; how many minutes are in a day; and how many seconds are in a day?"

Math. He had math questions in his head.

This is a boy who is made of me. I loved numbers when I was a kid. Loved clean multiplication, loved the spiraling Fibonacci numbers, loved adding huge numbers in my head, loved doing squares and cubes. 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36. 1, 8, 27, 64, 125, 216. 132 is 169. No mystery, no guesswork. It is what it is.

I still use math to go to sleep. I count squares, sometimes. Usually, my mind starts getting fuzzy around 172 (289), and I fall asleep before 202 (400).

I pulled out a sheet of paper and a pen and showed him how I calculated the numbers. The answers, before your own child asks you, are 24 hours, 1440 minutes, and 86,400 seconds in a day.

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