Thursday, April 28, 2011

Motherhood Math

Math really isn’t a prerequisite of motherhood, unless you consider counting the breaths between contractions that you learn in Lamaze class. But soon after you first realize you are carrying life, the numbers begin.

The average pregnancy lasts 40 weeks. Ask a pregnant woman and they will prove they have mastered the art of subtraction by rambling off how many weeks they are along and instantly how much longer they have to go.

After the birth of the child, the mother will tell you how many hours she was in labor, and perhaps practice multiplication and spit out exactly how many minutes she sacrificed for that beautiful baby.

And once the baby is born, ages are counted in days…and then weeks…and then months…and then finally, years.

But that’s not where the numbers end. We learn to study decimals whenever the child has even the slightest fever, learn metric when we administer medicine. We count hours of naps, servings of vegetables, and certainly how many sleeps until Christmas or birthdays.

However, I thought I’d share a little extra motherhood math, some numbers that may shock and amaze and yes, might make me seem a little off my rocker for actually figuring all of this out.

I have three children. The number of times I have given birth is only three. My oldest child is nine, which means that she is approximately 117 months, 504 weeks, and 3,570 days old. My middle child is seven, which translates to 89 months, 384 weeks, and 2,715 days. The youngest, at three, is a mere 40 months, 168 weeks, and 1,175 days.

A little wild, eh? Numbers that large can easily be brought back to something simple.

Santa has visited our house only nine magical times. I have baked my children a grand total of 19 birthday cakes.

We have celebrated 11 first days of school and because we are fans of the home-packed lunch, I have gotten up early and packed about 776 lunches. (I admit I can pretty much now do it in my sleep.) This also means I have unpacked 776 book bags and checked folders 776 times.

Having two girls, I should have fixed their hair 4,745 times, but if I’m being honest, that number is a little high because their hair is often ragged because I’m just not handy with a pony tail.

And even though their hair might not always be tip top, as parents we try to keep our dirt-loving children as neat and clean as possible. This sort of cleanliness does not come without some serious hours spent hunched over a bathtub, wondering why “tearless” shampoo still makes our kids scream bloody murder when it touches their foreheads. Assuming we bathe them all twice per week (another high estimate, especially if you consider how I tend to simply hose them down in the summer), we have given a total of 2,112 baths.

This means that if I clean their ears after each bath, I have cleaned a total of 4,224 ears, equaling almost 15 300-count packages of cotton swabs if it’s a one swab per ear job.

Grooming doesn’t stop there. If I clip their nails just once a week, I have cut 10,560 fingernails, meaning that over ten thousand little clippings have flown haphazardly around the room. Chances are at least 400 of those have hit me in the eye.

Cleaned and trimmed, we have put children to bed a total of 7,461 times. With an average of two stories per night, we’ve read 14,922 books and peeked in at a sleeping child just to check probably too many times to count.

Other things are beyond numbers as well: loads of laundry, diapers changed, Band-Aids applied, hugs and kisses. Those figures probably define the mathematical term “infinity.”

But for all the big numbers out there, how many days, hours, minutes, seconds do I regret giving to my kids?

Zero.

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