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  • Writer's pictureViva Sarah Press

Math vs Tuna: First day back at school

00:15 - “Mommy, I can’t sleep.”

“Are you feeling okay?” “Yes. Pick a number.”

“It’s after midnight, you have school tomorrow. Let’s try and go to sleep and we’ll do the number thing in the morning.”

“Pick a number. I figured out a math riddle and I want to see if it works. Then I’ll go to sleep.”

This kid. Always thinking. Numbers flying through his mind.

I know that if I send him to bed he won’t sleep. He’ll continue testing his riddle.

“Okay. 8.”

“No. Pick a number and don’t tell me.”

I look at the time. I hope this riddle will be quick. He has to go to sleep. I have to go to sleep.

“Okay. I got a number.”

“Add 4. Multiply by 12.”

OMG! Multiply by 12? I can barely think mathematically when I’m awake.

“Add, divide, subtract. You got 6, right?”

I did.

“Do you want to hear how I did that?”

“Can it wait for the morning?”


“Okay, good night.”

Kid totters off to bed. Pleased that his riddle worked.

01:15 - “Mommy, I can’t sleep. I’m trying to sleep but I thought of another way to explain the riddle.”

“You need to sleep. You have school in a few hours. I need to sleep. I need to go early to the beach to catch a tuna for your sandwich, bring it back home and make your sandwiches in the morning before school. Let’s try to think about that.”

“You’re going to the beach to catch a tuna?” “Yes. To catch a can of tuna.”

I ask him to think about my fishing excursion as an attempt to change the channel in his brain. It is the only way.

It works. Kinda.

He still has numbers flying through his brain. He tries to talk about them. I tell him to think about the beach. And the tuna.

He falls asleep beside me. Which means the rest of the night is extremely uncomfortable for me. He is a diagonal sleeper.

6 a.m. (before the alarm sounds) - “Mommy, can I explain the riddle to you now?”


“Of course, you can.”

But we don’t begin where we left off.

“Pick a number.”

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