Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Grapes of Math

My three-year-old, Curly Miss, has discovered MATH. In the sense of making something beneficial for her and still pacifying her mother by making sure her brother gets a cut.

Here's the whole story:

Today we were all in the car driving to McDonald's for a special lunch with friends. Curly Miss requested that we get a Fruit and Walnut Salad because she wanted to dip the apples in the yogurt. I agreed and reminded her that the salad also comes with grapes.

"How many grapes?" she wanted to know.

"Mmmm, probably about six," I replied. She thought about this for a while until I added, "you'll need to share them with Little Mister, you know."

"Oh, okay." The wheels were turning already, I could tell. "I'll give him two of them."

Hmmm, I suspected she knew exactly what she was doing. "So how many will you have if he gets two?" I asked.

"Oh, four," she said airily. Yep, she knew. That kid is smart.

"How many will you have if he has three?" I asked, attempting to balance the playing field a little.

"Two." She was downcast.


"Oh, three, too, I mean." She brightened.

"Yeah. If you have three he has three." I encouraged. I could not believe her addition skills. The sharing, though, needed work. This became even more obvious with the next statement.

"If I have six, he has NONE!" she chortled with glee.

"True," I said, "but if you have none, how many does he have?"

"All six," she answered triumphantly and with that the conversation ended and she started singing "Twinkle, Twinkle" and counting to twenty as fast as she could, as usual skipping seventeen.

It ended up at the restaurant that there were five grapes, her favorite number, and she gave Little Mister two which he munched happily.

For a three-year-old in a class of munchkins who do not yet even know their colors or shapes or even all of their body parts, the fact that she can accurately add and subtract in the abstract, just in conversation without the actual objects in front of her, blows me away. If she continues on this path, she is going to have very little trouble in school, at least in the area of math comprehension skills.

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