Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mr. Math

I adore watching my kids growing up. I marvel at every accomplishment and every new skill mastered. I have done this from my very first days as a Mommy. I loved watching Flik as he would stare at his hands, clearly checking them out for the first time, realizing that they were a part of him. As I watch, I am always impressed, amazed even, at what they are able to do. So even though Z, at nearly 10 months, is still not pulling himself up and toddling around, I still watch him sit up or zip across the room on his belly with pride. What I generally don't do is translate my amazement at their abilities into a belief that my kids are "special." I figure all moms are amazed at what their kids can do, which is why all moms think their kids are little geniuses. But the other day, Flik did something that blew me away. He is generally a pretty good reader given his age. Meanwhile his number abilities seem about average. He can recognize the digits, but can't write them without looking at them. The other day I noticed he cleverly went and stood by the analog clock to write his numbers so that he could see what he wanted to write. He can now tell you what a two digit number is (3-4 is thirty-four), but has trouble remembering that twenty-ten is not what comes after twenty-nine.

Anyway, earlier this week, I was in the room with him and our nanny and Tiff said, "Let's show Mommy what we learned!"
Tiff: What's 2 plus 2?
Flik: 4 (No counting. Just memorized.)
Tiff: What's 3 plus 3?
Flik: 6
Mommy: Great job, Kiddo! What about 1plus 1?
Flik: 2 (pause) Mommy, can I have some of your Diet Coke?
Mommy: Um, no.
Flik: Please!
Mommy: I'll tell you what. You can have a sip if you tell me what 8 plus 5 is.
He looks down at his fingers. He makes two fists and begins opening them one finger at a time. He gets to ten and his brow furrows. I suggest, "You can borrow Tiff's fingers if you need to."

Tiff holds out her hands. He looks over at her hands and then sits back down. He closes his fists and begins opening them one finger at a time again. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8. He stops. He closes his hands. He opens fingers one at a time again, stopping at five. "Thirteen," he announces. Tiff and I look at each other having no idea how he figured out how to do it that way. I give him a sip of my Diet Coke. Two, in fact. (I was impressed.)

A couple days later, I wanted to share the story with Daddy, so I took out my camera to record it. This is the second time he has been asked this question in three days, but I am still impressed.

Where do I get my "kid genius" T-shirt?