Bedtime Math 3 – Add some math fun to your bedtime stories!

Bedtime Math 3
Bedtime Math 3

My family has enjoyed the first two volumes of Bedtime Math, by Laura Overdeck. When I was offered a chance to review Bedtime Math 3: The Truth Comes Out, we were very excited!

If you aren’t familiar with the Bedtime Math series, here’s a quick introduction.

Author Laura Overdeck says, “We want kids to feel about math the way they feel about dessert after dinner.”

Our mission: to make math a fun part of kids’ everyday lives. When is the last time you gave your child a math problem just for fun? Yesterday? Last year? Maybe never? We all know it’s wonderful to read bedtime stories to kids, but the question remains–what about doing math? Math has a negative association in our culture and many Americans are uncomfortable and even fearful of math and numbers. But Bedtime Math is here to change all that.

Bedtime Math stories feature different difficulty levels, so kids of varying ages — and parents — can participate in the math fun.

Getting kids to enjoy math as much as dessert may seem impossible, but wait until you try Bedtime Math with your kids. Give it a try and give math a chance! You might be pleasantly surprised at their reactions!

Why learn math? (Fox Trot comic)
Why learn math? (Fox Trot comic)

Bedtime Math Stories

Bedtime Math and popcorn
Bedtime Math and popcorn

As a nerdy mom, I’m always looking for fun ways to help my kids develop their math skills. When I received an offer to review “Bedtime Math” and “Bedtime Math 2,” I was excited to see what the books were all about.

The “Bedtime Math” books are written by Laura Overdeck and illustrated by Jim Paillot. The pages are colorful and the drawings are fun and cartoony! And then there’s the math. You might be skeptical, thinking there’s no way kids will enjoy math “stories” at bedtime — or any other time!

But you might be surprised…

As soon as my 9 year old daughter got home from school and  saw “Bedtime Math 2,” she opened it up and started reading. It seemed to engage her attention immediately. She munched her popcorn and read the math riddles and stories happily. Excellent! I asked her what she thought of the book, and she chirped, “Great!”

Each math story starts with a few lines of introduction, which combine some math with some silliness. For example, “We don’t want to wear underwear that’s goofy shaped, full of holes, or decorated with a cartoon character we haven’t liked in 3 years.” Other pages talk about daytime pajama-wearing, sticky messes, sneezing speed, and getting glitter everywhere.

Once the situation is set, there are some math problems, presented as stories, questions or riddles. To involve the whole family, there are questions for wee ones, little kids, big kids, and bonus challenges. The solutions are printed upside-down at the bottom of the page, so you can check your answer right away, without having to flip to the back of the book.

The “Bedtime Math” series provides a fun way to incorporate some giggles and some math into reading time, whether it’s at bedtime or anytime. Most kids won’t necessarily want to replace every storytime with math, but these books definitely deserve a place on your bookshelf! For more information, visit BedtimeMath.org.

GeekMom’s latest “this is not my child” moment: Tantrum at Target

I don’t know who came up with the phrase “Terrible Twos,” because with my three kids, age three has always been much worse than two. I was reminded of this today, when my three year old daughter had her first humongous public meltdown. It happened like this…

This morning, I needed to get some things from my favorite store, Target. I love going to Target. There is a Pizza Hut/Taco Bell snack area up front, and I can grab a soda to sip while I shop. Usually, I get a sugar cookie for my daughter, and she sits sweetly in the cart, smiling at strangers, waving at old folks. It’s a nice outing. Not today.

About halfway through the shopping, she decided to throw a big screaming fit. It was really magnificent. On the International Tantrum Scale (based on how many strangers would stop and stare), it was probably a 9 out of 10. There was crying, whining, screaming, falling on the floor, scratching, bleeding, hair stuck to snot, kicking… No vomiting, though. That would have made it a 10.

I will spare you the rest of the little details, but let me share some of the things I learned from today’s Tantrum at Target:

  • Age three is more terrible than two, because a three year old is heavier, more wiggly, and can cause more damage during a tantrum.
  • The first time a child has a huge tantrum at the store, it will be unexpectedly crowded, even though it’s a Monday, and people should be at work.
  • The more difficult your child is being, the more people will stop their carts directly in your path, blocking your way.
  • The ear-splitting shrieks of an angry toddler would make a highly effective torture device.
  • The ear-splitting shrieks of an angry toddler would also make a highly effective birth control device.
  • Chanting “this is not my child” to yourself while you wrestle the kid and try to drive the cart around the oblivious morons parked in the middle of the aisle does not help to block out the screaming noise.

I’m sure some of you parents can relate to this experience. It’s one of those things that we all go through with our kids, right? Do you have any favorite tantrum lessons you’d like to share?

A big difference between GeekMom and GeekDad

First of all, let me say that this story involves throw-up. If you are averse to hearing such a story, please skip to the next post. I don’t want to make you sick! If you’re a parent, chances are you’re over it, so read on…

When it comes to parenting, Hubby and I have lots in common. All the important things. However, one of the places we differ is in the treatment of sick children. Specifically, children who are vomiting, or who are about to vomit. For instance…

Not long ago, one of our young children was about to be sick. She’s not old enough to go into the bathroom and take care of it herself, but there was no doubt about what was going to happen.

Sensing the imminent upchuck, Hubby jumped backwards, with a graceful agility I did not know he possessed. He nailed the move, and landed safely outside the splatter zone.

In the same second, I — almost without thinking — lunged toward my daughter. I got my hands cupped under her pale face just in time, and caught the mess! Yes, in my bare hands. I’m a mom. I’ve been a mom long enough to know it’s much easier to wash my hands, arms, and/or shirt, than to scrub the sofa, floor, and/or carpet!

Once things were cleaned up and under control, I pointed out the difference in our reactions to my husband. I asked him why he jumped out of the way, leaving me to jump in. He said, “I don’t know. It’s just a reflex, I guess. And you’re a vomit magnet.”

Vomit magnet.” Next time I’m revising my Mom resume, I’ll have to add that to my list of talents and responsibilities. Head Cook, Nurse, Chauffeur, Tutor, Vomit Magnet. Yeah, that’s impressive. 🙂

Kids are sooo funny!

A recent conversation I had with my kindergartener went something like this…

Punkin: Mommy, why is your belly so floppy?

Me: Well, Mommy had three babies. Remember when Mommy’s belly was big like a balloon? When the baby was inside? Well, when the baby comes out, Mommy’s belly is like a balloon with no air inside, and that is why it’s floppy.

Punkin: Oh. (giggles)

Yes, the truth hurts, but it’s also pretty funny.

GeekMom’s Quick Tip: Shake, Shake, Shake!

gloves

Here is a funny story I had to share. My kindergartener recently had trouble getting his fingers all the way into his gloves before going out to the bus stop. He insisted there was something in there! I said, “Just try again,” because sometimes that works… He tried jamming his fingers into the gloves, but they wouldn’t go all the way in.

So, being a good mother, I turned the problem glove inside-out to check for debris. I was expecting a scrap of Kleenex or a piece of grass. I got the first couple of fingers checked out. Nothing was there. Turning these gloves out is no easy task, because the fingers are pretty small.

I continued with the index finger, and started pushing the tip of the glove inward. As I worked the glove and opened up the finger, I saw long, brown fibers being pushed out. I thought it might be a piece of mulch. Then, a roundish wad of something emerged. And finally, the whole leggy, smushed, balled-up spider fell out of the glove and onto the floor.

Fortunately, it was dead. Our vigorous attempts at putting on the glove had done the trick.

It’s a good thing my 6-year old is not afraid of bugs, or this might have been a traumatic experience.

The moral of the story: Always shake your gloves out before putting them on!

GeekMom’s Mean Thoughts

I have three kids of my own, and although I love them all dearly, they do have their moments. My first baby had trouble sleeping. He had allergies and acid reflux, which we didn’t get diagnosed until he was 15 months old, because the pediatrician kept telling us he’d grow out of it. “Stop breastfeeding him and he’ll sleep through the night.” “Take away the pacifier, because he can’t find it, and then he can’t get back to sleep.” “Just let him cry.

That first baby is almost nine, and I still shake with fury when I remember what that stupid doctor put us through. Thankfully, I finally (I know, I should have done it sooner, but I trusted the doctor…) took him to a specialist and got things taken care of. It was nice to finally get some sleep! But I digress…

The point of this post was not to recount my old grudges.

Actually, some of our friends are just now having babies. We’re having a mini baby boom in our little circle. And even though I really want everyone to be healthy and happy, and I hope their babies are sweet little bundles of joy, there’s a snarky little part of me that hopes those kids throw some big tantrums and wake their parents up at all hours of the night. Just to be fair.

So there you have it: GeekMom’s dark side. Be afraid. 🙂