Saturday, February 25, 2012


Being mathematicians and teachers, Larry and I feel strongly that education is important.  We also think that it is important to study a subject you enjoy, yet also makes you employable. 
The picture is not about this entry.
It is Abigail jumping up and landing on her butt.

Abigail has a definite creative side.  She makes up games, is great at imaginary play, tells stories, creates "art" with great flourish and likes making things with her hands.  She certainly has picked up other concepts quickly too, such as identifying letters, colors, and shapes.  Abigail likes to be read to and also to "read" to herself.  

But we have been holding our breath because she hadn't shown any interest or ability in counting.  I could put before her 2 cookies and 3 cookies and ask "Abigail, do you want 1,2 cookies or do you want 1,2,3 cookies?"  And she would say "TWO" while taking the pile of 3 and count them 1, 2, 1.

For months, she counted 1,2,1,2,1,2,1,2...  My dad tried to assure me that this just meant she understood binary and would be a good computer scientist.  But then I discovered that when counting things with her, if I provided the 3, she got past it and could count all the way up to 12 or 13.  

She had a 3 block!

So Larry and I worked with her diligently to get past her 3 block.  Everything that could be counted was counted.  She could analyze two piles of things and determine which had more, but she couldn't quantify it if it went beyond 3.  

But finally, this week Abigail began counting past her 3 block without help.  She even showed us that she can count to 19!

Suffice it to say, Larry and I are immensely relieved that Abigail has shown an interest in numbers and how they represent quantities of "stuff".  

(All jest aside, though, we do worry for her.  She is smart.  But she is also hard working.  She is a Chinese kid with 2 mathematical parents.  If she ends up being very talented in math, no one will give her credit for her hard work; they will just assume her success is due to her genetics or her environment.  If she is not good at math, people might say "What is wrong with you?  You are Chinese and can't do math?  Your parents are math teachers and you can't do math?"  I know that she is going to be judged by people based on how she looks.  We all are judged and, if we are being honest, we all judge others based on superficial things.  I just wish I could protect Abigail from that.  But for now, I can work with her and teach her and show her how to be proud of herself.  Just like I am so proud of her for getting past her 3 block and counting to 19!)

1 comment:

  1. I think the number thing really clicked for Em when we pulled out the advent calendar at Christmas. We would count up to the current number every day. It's very exciting and motivating to count for a piece of chocolate. LOL