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Saturday, May 05, 2018

Birthday Unicorns, Probabilities and the certainty of Professor Google


I can see changes in Benji daily - a stronger grasp of language, a steadier gait.  He seems to grow taller and more solid almost overnight.  He engages in new behavior daily and his new (terrible home-job) first haircut makes him seem less babyish, more toddler.

But Ellie?  Ellie is turning four years old today and suddenly she is a young girl.  

I blinked and my baby morphed into this young girl-toddler creature that’s half girl (Are you happy Mommy?) and half toddler (I want my milk NOW!).  She’s all tall and curious and wicked smart.  Perceptive, initiative, careful.  

She’s the best parts of me and Bill.  We’re having a Unicorn themed birthday party for her tomorrow because she’s my little unicorn.  Magical, rare, beautiful, shy.  Full of love and light.  There will be lots of food (Thank you Lorna D for the Unicorn cake, and Jessica of Hodge Podge Bakery for the unicorn cookie-cake!)

Alright enough of the smooshy clap-trap.  Can you tell me what is the probability of flipping 4 heads or more if you flipped a coin 6 times?  I’ll give you hint.  There are 64 chances to flip a head or a tail.  (Only two outcomes; heads, or tails, six times.  2x2x2x2x2x2=64.)

You’ve got about 120 seconds to figure this out.

Go!

No?

Nope, me either.  (She said glumly).

GRE test coming up in one month.  30 days away.   If I fail I will re-schedule a test for September and spend the summer wondering why math and I never got along well.  Where did I go wrong?  Did I offend him at our first meeting?  Was his negative first impression of me too much to overcome?

If nothing else this GRE test has taught me that I actually like math.  (I know, it’s kind of a life theme for me to like things that will never like me back).  I like the certainty of formulas.  No subjective conjecture or ambiguity.  No interpretation required.  Just plug in the right numbers in the right slots and presto!  Amazing answers will follow.

My biggest problem has been trying to overcome a lifetime of ‘I’m not a math person’ and my own attitude that I only needed basic math to survive in the world.

I wish someone had stopped me when I was six or seven and said, math is fun!  And you need it, it won’t matter if you’re a famous artist or a Nobel prize winning writer.  You will need this.  So soak it in.

Ellie and Benji will have this lesson learned for them.  They won’t make my mistakes.  They’ll make their own.  But they’ll make them with a head full of math and science I’ll tell you that.

On the bright side my phone died last night.  Kaput.  So, you know, I’m missing about half my brain right now.  We have to send it away and I won’t get it back for days.  DAYS PEOPLE!

I’m breathing into a paper bag right now.  In.  Out.  In.  Out.

I’ll have to use the geriatric GPS in the van.  

‘Go left here missy, never you mind about those new-fangled stores now.  Hey where are you going?  I don’t see a road here.  That’s a ‘new’ road.  Springing up all over the place acting like they have a right to be there.  What gives them right to spring up out of nowhere!?’

I’m mentally preparing myself for a life without my portable contact to everyone I know and everyplace I’ve ever been and to the classroom of professor Google.  Phew.

There are dark days ahead guys.  

But like my ancestors before me, I will struggle on and engage the world alone, without selfies and instagram updates of what we’re eating today.  And pray no one needs to know the odds of flipping heads 4 times in a row.   Or calculate how much yummy Unicorn cake is just enough for a four year old to eat, and how much will send her to bed early with a tummy ache.

Maybe I can look that up now while I have access to the internet…