I like giving my kids math problems. It’s comedy in action.

When Vivian and William were five, I blogged about fun-with-math. I wrote:

A couple of years ago, in a good parenting moment, I started playing math with them while driving. I gave them number problems, and they figured out the answer (or not). The game went like this: “If Mommy, Daddy, Vivian, and William are home, and Grandma and Grandpa come to visit, how many people are in the house?”

They’ve become pretty good at it, too. So good, that I’ve started taking creative license with our problems.

On a recent family outing, the scenario was this: “If Vivian and William are throwing Cheerios at each other and Daddy is still sleeping, how many people are left when Mommy runs away?”

Nothing like passive aggressive behaviour to make me feel better.

Now that William and Vivan are 7, the math problems continue.

Sometimes I use them to manipulate my kids. “If you have 2 messy beds and no one cleans them up, how many minutes of TV will you be able to watch?”

I’ve also used math problems to steal food: “If you have 12 Easter eggs and Mommy eats 4, how many are left?”

But a couple of nights ago, my son began making his own math problems.

This one was my favourite.

Picture William swaggering up to his dad and posing this question:

**“If I had 100 daddies and 19 died, **

**how many do I have left?”**

A simple math question that addresses fidelity, promiscuity, paternity, and death in under 15 words.

I grinned, looked at my husband and said, “Enough to help Mommy in lots of ways.”

***

**Any numbers (real or imaginary) in your life this week?**

Mark Kaplowitz says

If a normal work week is five days, and one of those days is a national holiday, it still takes just as long to get to Friday.

Funny post. I admire William’s curiosity.

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

Indeed. Short weeks mess with perception. Now there’s a psychology lesson, rather than a math one.

Annie says

Five adults are bailing water out of a basement for eight hours. 4 are men. How many chicken snack wraps should you order for them at the drive through?

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

I saw the pictures! Well, not of the drive through, but of the road. What a nightmare. The week before my wedding (the reception was a party in a big tent on my parents’ farm), I was using the shop vac in our basement after it rained 7″ in a day. Hope your neighbor’s house is okay!

Kir says

Loved this, what an ingenius little boy! At 3 my boys are just starting to learn about numbers, but this week we did have 1 first boat ride!!!!

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

A boat ride? And you didn’t lose either of them? A great week, then.

Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson says

A man and his son have planned to take a fencing trip to New Jersey. The man has to pick up the child’s fencing coach at 1 pm. The child must also be retrieved at 1 pm – as there is an evacuation drill scheduled at the child’s school and the family’s street will be blocked off – strictly enforced, no coming or going – from 1:20-2:20 pm. The man, the coach and the boy must leave by 1:15 pm in order so as not to be stuck behind 14 stinky buses filled with hundreds of screaming students. The man asks his wife on the morning of the trip if she will “please help” by picking up their son at 1 pm.

The wife has a 1 pm pedicure.

How many people will be on the road to New Jersey by 1:15 pm? How many swear words will be uttered at 1:21 pm? And, seriously, which is more important: two swords or ten little piggies?

It’s a thinker, I know. 😉

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

Wow, this is AP math, isn’t it? Did you use the fencing sword to file your nails?

Hope your toes look pretty. 🙂

accidentalstepmom says

Love this. I’m going to answer the one about fencing and the pedicure by having the husband call the kid in sick that day.

Our kids are learning the sad fact that they actually do have to use math, and even worse, math about fractions, when following recipes because we pretty much always have to adjust them to cover us. It leads to such whining as “Pancakes are too much math!”

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

Brilliant answer.

Pancakes are a lot of math. I’m always doing 1.5 recipes. Until I realized I could freeze pancakes.

thoughtsappear says

I love these math problems…And they’re math word problems, too!

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

I know. The ones in the comments are priceless.

rob shepherd says

1 dad plus two twins minus 1 mom for an entire weekend. My wife is going to DC and I am home alone with 9 week old twins. Help! I kid, I kid…but not really. Come to VA and help. Blog material will be a plenty. I really am kidding.

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

I’d help if I were near…if only to remind myself why I only had two! Good luck. You’ll have blog material a-plenty on Monday!

mommypoo says

These math problems are a brilliant idea! How bout this? Friday night, Mummy has one martini. Then she has 3 more. Her husband comes home and has a couple of beers. How many drinks between the two of them? And bonus points for figuring out how many minutes it takes them to stumble into bed.

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

Am I supposed to answer this math problem sober?

Susan says

Me (to the 5-year old): How many times to I have to tell you? Get your shoes on.

Isabelle: (silence; totally ignoring me…)

Me: Seriously, Isabelle, how many times? Like, five? Ten?

Isabelle: (silence)

Me: Turn of the TV and get your shoes on. NOW.

Isabelle: Can I have three more minutes?

Me: No.

Isabelle: Two minutes?

Me: No. One minute.

Isabelle: Four minutes?

Me: That makes no sense. You can’t negotiate up.

Isabelle: Ok one minute.

Me: Deal…one minute. And it’s half over, by the way.

That’s usually how the math works in our house.

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

You totally took me back. I used to say, “It took me half a day to get out of the house by 8 a.m.” The shoes!

Now I just need to put tracker devices on William’s footwear.

thescreamingkettle says

Here from Tamara’s site. As a lover of math and a parent, this amused me greatly. I’ll be back!

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

Thanks for making the trip from Tamara’s. She’s fab. Come again…

Meet the Buttrams says

I mean, who doesn’t have 100 daddies?

This math only makes sense to those with PhDs in housekeeping: 1 Mommy takes 3 hours to clean the house. 2 kids take 23 seconds to make it look apocalyptic. 1 Dad leaves 14 ties on the stair rail after 1 5-day workweek. How many toys and books will you find under the couch?

Answer: 5,148 toys, 194 books.

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

I love this. I got 5148.2 toys. Is that still correct?

Maybe you can use Dad’s ties to wrap up the books.

KristenSays says

1 cat runs out the front door. i run after it. how many seconds does it take me to realize that i have just shut the front door behind me and locked myself out? how many more seconds does it take me to figure out how to break back in while simultaneously holding a struggling, clawing, screeching cat?

i’m still outside.

and i have no idea where the cat is.

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

Really? I hope you’ve made it into your house. And your cat, too. But especially you…

Kim says

I’ve only used to old standby “How many times are you going to make me tel you… blah blah blah”

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

I love rhetorical questions like that, except when my kids try to answer them.

Catie Rhodes says

Forgot olives and mushrooms for pizza tonight. Store is 6 mile round trip. How much you wanna bet we’re having pizza sans olives and mushrooms tonight?

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

100% chance. Am I right? Do I get a gold star?

I’ve been there. Most nights.

BigLittleWolf says

I got a good chuckle out of this post. (Especially “how many people are left after Mommy runs away.” Huh. I could’ve used that a couple of times even recently, with teens.)

As you may have noticed, 730 was a nice number for me this week. I admit, I love counting things and I love numbers. (The kids and I used to do math in our heads at the kitchen table and of course, my boys being so close in age, they were extremely competitive about it.)

I will also confess

When I feel distress

And I can’t sleep

I don’t count sheep.

I have been known

(When I’m alone)

To count my shoes

Chasing ‘way blues

Then come the zzzz’s

Soft as a breeze!

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

You count shoes? Too funny. I’d be done in about 30 seconds. But I love how your poetry scans!

Happy 730th!

Bellymonster says

Dying with laughter at Renee’s comment. Oh, sweet Mama I sure hope your got your pedi!

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

I know. Our NY sister is funny. 😀

Paige Morgan says

1 mommy got 5 hours of sleep. How many glasses of wine will it take to keep her sane?

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

Are we working in fractions or decimals or whole numbers?

Paige Morgan says

I haven’t read every comment on someone else’s blog o

In a while, but I am addicted to this one. Loved kristensays!

Can we do this every day?

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

We should. We should have Math Monday, or something. Love it when the comments out-interest the post!

paigekellerman says

LOL..love it. Although, if 19 died, there still wouldn’t be enough of them to remember to put the dirty clothes in the hamper..

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

Now there’s a math problem…

julie gardner says

I love you.

And your kids.

(the jury is still out on your 100 husbands, though…)

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

Well, I have outlived 19 of them.

Motpg says

You are so funny!

Mine would be, if a math teacher hadn’t miraculously found about .02 percentage points under a desk or somewhere, how many of my kids would not be graduating next week?

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

Good point. The 1ooth decimal thing. (Or whatever it’s called). 😛

educlaytion says

Don’t you know about me and math? It doesn’t work for me. I’m a matheist (I don’t believe in math).

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

Don’t you know about me and math? I was a strong math and science student who chose to major in English and Women’s Studies. Crazy, eh? I think we can still be friends.

Fiona Cooper (@nlpmum) says

If one daddy goes to play banjo at a gig 40miles from home on Saturday night and stays overnight how long will it take him to get back….. 3pm Sunday and still waiting…… grrrrrr…. and how many movies will the kids have watched on TV by the time he makes it back (only 1/2 so far which I reckon is pretty amazing!) 😉 Fiona

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

Fiona! Ahh. I know that waiting time. My husband is gone from 5 a.m.-4p.m. every Sunday. But banjo gig? That’s got a pretty good cool quotient.

Jackie says

You look at your cookbook and realize dinner will be a minimum of 50 minutes to make. You have 2 children screaming for food, and 60 minutes before you need to leave for a school meeting.

What is a) the probability of you getting to actually eat dinner OR b) the probablity of scrapping the meal plan and eating grilled cheese sandwiches intstead?

Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) says

Brilliant, Jackie, brilliant. I think I would have broken out the cereal and the peanut butter.

m says

If mom works 5 10-hour shifts 30 mins away from daycare every week and spends 3 hrs a day on house work and chores, 1 hr a day cooking, 4 hrs a day running after kids, 30 mins a day on showering/dressing/brushing herself, 6 hours a week on shopping and errands, can she make it to yet another all day preschool party on saturday?

Leanne Shirtliffe says

I got exhausted reading that. Does the answer contain alcohol?

m says

the answer is: booze and child-free shopping

writerwoman61 says

Hmmm…if there are six people sitting in the living room, what are the odds that the dog will come to me first to be let outside (the possibility increases with however many chores I’m juggling at the time)?

Wendy

Canadianfamily says

That is hilarious! My husband who came over to see why i was laughing out loud was not nearly as impressed.

I’ve been attempting subtraction myself- Subtract the toys , the baby clothes that will never be used again and the “stuff” in order to make my house feel better- roomier- and give me more time to do what i REALLY want to do- blogged about it today- unfortunatly so far I just have lots of half sorted totes and random stuff everywhere…..sigh! So in this case i’m getting a failing grade for subtraction- and a two thumbs up for pushing randomness from one end of the house to another!

jedwardswright says

This is a problem from when my kids were teenagers.

If 1 high school student skips math class 60% of the time, but still gets 60% on her report card, what percentage chance is there that she will get kicked out of math?

Apparently she was smart enough to teach herself math, but not wise enough to figure out the problem above.

The answer, of course, is 100%.

Jodi