Normally, at this point in the year, as the leaves slowly turn golden brown and the nights begin to draw in, I anticipate what lies ahead that ruminate on the new term, but instead, I’m going to look back.
Back at the recent six-week holiday which I have spent with my children, cramming in as much as possible, before my eldest child begins secondary school and my four-year-old returns to complete what will be his final year in pre-school. And, as they are both heading back to the classroom, I thought I’d refresh myself of the Three R’s – Reading, (W)Riting and (A)Rithmetic by devising a mathematical quiz – my summer by numbers, as it were. I’ll also do the ‘riting and you can do the reading if you like.
1. So, here goes, the first question: What’s the square root of 9?
Three. Three is also the number of times I have taken my children swimming at North Kesteven swimming pool. For those of you who don’t know, the last time I went for a dip at the popular fitness centre, I embarrassed myself when my swimming costume ‘malfunctioned’. What I didn’t realise, as I bobbed up and down in the water, was the halter neck of my cossie had come undone and had ended up around my waist. My kids are lucky we made it back to the pool once, never mind three times after that happened.
2. In geometry, an isosceles triangle is a triangle that has how many sides of equal length?
Two. Which is the number of times my children have been camping this summer. The first time was early on in the school holidays when we went to Heckington Show with my parents. We stayed over in their camper van so we could watch the fireworks display, which always takes place on the first evening of the event. The second time was when, on impulse, I put up the tent in the back garden and told my children they could camp out for fun. They were thrilled by the idea. I left them snuggled down in their sleeping bags at 9pm and by 9.30pm they were both back in their own beds because they ‘heard something’ outside of the tent. I am certain it was the snuffling of a hedgehog.
3. Ready for another? What is the formula for pi?
3.14159. A very precise number but this probably equates to the number of times my children have eaten pizza, per week over the six week holiday. It’s tricky feeding a pernickety four-year-old and a hormonal tweenager food they will both eat without grumbling. Pizza usually ticks the box, plus, I always serve vegetables and fruit salad as a side dish to make myself feel better.
4. We’re still warming up the brain cells – it’ll get harder. What is 10 x 20?
200. Which is also the total amount of cash I spent on kitting out my eldest child in new uniform. I basically handed over my debit card to the assistant in Uniform Direct and said ‘we’ll take it all, whatever she needs and we’d better have two of everything while you’re at it’. Also, because one of my lasting memories from when I started secondary school at the age of 11 is the HIDEOUS brown shoes my mother forced me to wear, I forked out for a pair of patent Mary Jane-style shoes from Clarks because no child of mine will suffer the embarrassment of being laughed at on her first day for wearing the wrong colour shoes.
5. How many zeros are in a trillion? A lot, well, this many to be precise: 1,000,000,000,000.
That’s also the same number of times I have threatened to take my eldest child’s phone away if she continues to watch it under her duvet when it is way past her bedtime. It’s also the same number of selfies she has posted on Instagram and the same amount of texts and Snapchat messages (or ‘streaks’) she has sent to her friends over the course of the holidays.
6. Is a gazillion bigger or smaller than a trillion?
Ah, trick question – there is no such thing as a gazillion but the one thing Google can confirm is it indicates a large number, huge in fact, which would equate to the number of times my four-year-old has shouted “MUMMY” over the school holidays. Sometimes, it has been warranted – like when he needed me to cut up sausages at teatime, when his sister was dangling him upside down by his feet, or to help with toilet duties. Other times, it was less necessary – like the time he yelled for me to glue his banana back together after it ‘snapped’. I have heard my name shouted so many times I have become slightly immune to responding, which probably isn’t a good thing.
7. What is everyone’s lucky number? It has to be 7, yes?
Well, it certainly wasn’t all that lucky for my eldest child who was desperate to make slime this summer. There is a bit of craze going on at the moment – homemade slime – fuelled by a gazillion videos on YouTube of people making slime from PVA glue andBorax (try finding
it in the UK). Other ingredients can be combined, including glue and contact lens cleaner, or glue and Aldi’s Almat laundry wash. We found, on the seventh attempt, that the Almat combination proved the most successful. But after seven goes, we were rapidly losing the will to live.
8. If the ice cream man visits your street every day for six weeks and you buy two ice creams a day. How many ice creams do you purchase over the duration of the school holidays?
Ooh, me, me, I know – because I am the mother who let her children twist her arm into letting them have a treat from Candy’s van on a daily basis. The answer is 84, by the way.
9. 2,3,5,7,11,13,17,19,23… This is a list of what, of which 5 is one?
Prime numbers – you clever things.
Five is also the number of times I have already had a conversation about – shhh – Christmas, because we all know, as soon as the kids go back to school in September, we blink and the festive season is upon us. Maybe if we don’t talk about it, time will slow down and December will remain in the not-so-distant future.
So, how did you do? Did you answer all nine questions correctly?
Well done, if you did. You are officially ready for the new term, even if none of us are quite ready to set our alarm clocks to 7am after a summer of lie-ins and lazy days.