The Nobel Prize in Math


I don’t mean this in an ugly way, but Lisa was a pretty good nagger. She didn’t really stay on me about stuff cause I typically do what I’m supposed to do. But she could harp on the kids about a plethora of things: practicing the piano, completing their homework, keeping their skin moisturized, getting their thank you notes written, and more!

Since I’ve been the sole parent, I’ve had to take up the role of naggart.

I don’t mind, there’s part of me that perversely enjoys getting under another’s skin. What I stink at is remembering. I just don’t care enough to be a great nag.

I so want to excel at this task. I long to hear a child’s annoyed whine, “Daaaaad. You don’t have to tell me again!”

I long to respond, “Clearly I do!  You did not do it the first six times I asked!”

The problem is, I never asked, because I forgot.

This week we’ve been at the beach, and I have had the awesome opportunity to hassle Stephanie all week long. She’s about the head to camp for four weeks, and she has to complete a massive math assignment for her class placement for the fall. She did the work once, but the school sent us an email encouraging her to push a little harder so they could put her in an honors class.

I was excited!

“Stephanie, if you increase your grade on the placement test slightly, you can take Honors Geometry next year!”

I had visions of Harvard, a PHD, maybe a Nobel Peace Prize! My daughter, one and the same as pi.

She didn’t bite.

“Isn’t the honors course harder?”

“It IS more challenging,” I thought I was giving her a boost!

“Then why would I want to take that?”

“The Nobel Peace Prize baby!  STEM is in!”

She just couldn’t see our vision for her future (by our, I mean my).

So, we’ve spent at least one miserable hour each day of our vacation fighting about math. We’ve been here six days, I have the conversation memorized.

“Stephanie,” I start in the kindest tone I can muster. “You need to start thinking about spending some time on your math.”



“This is rediculous!”

“Baby, you’re good at math. You got an award in 8th grade assembly for math!”

“I like math, in the school year! I don’t like math in the summer. When am I ever going to use math in my life?”

“Mmmm.  Let’s see.  EVERY DAY!”

“Not this kind of math. Do you ever factor a polynomial at work?”

“Seriously? I work at the Y.”


And then, I get to nag. For an hour at a minimum.

“You could have been done with today’s work in the amount of time you’ve spent complaining. Shut your pie hole and get to work!”

It’s no use. I think she just likes to argue. It’s gonna be a constant battle. She’s “asleep” now. Her computer screen is black. Geeze.

I’m just gonna drop it until next week.  By then I will have forgotten, and she’ll be in basic math.

Oh well, who wants a stinkin’ Nobel anyhow?


Purchase Danny’s Book Laughter, Tears and Braids: Amazon or Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh

If you have read the book and are willing to write a short review, it would be helpful: Click here. And thanks



Leave a comment


  1. Mel Ham

     /  July 30, 2014

    Polynomial …I work at the Y. Funny! I am the nagger. Point taken…I ask kindly, gently..first…2nd a reminder….past that I lose my mind. Then you get the phone call where are my soccer shoes. Secretly Chad thinks i’m sexy sporting around in them so I take them from whatever location they are dropped. I wear them quite often so it makes since that I know where they are..size 10 men’s soccer shoes.

    It wasn’t politically correct but it was life in 1977. We had a dumb and a smart side in math class. You took a placement test at the first of the year. Where your desk landed was how well you did on the test. Mr. Washington would split the period up teaching to two different sets of students. I was the third to the last chair on the smart side…not a real strong standing with my smart peers. AS much as I would look across the room at my weaker math com padres, I felt embarrassed that my chair wasn’t further “in” the smart pool. WE all use math, algebra, logic everyday. I’m just getting too old and tired to fight too much. I too try the “take your own initiative”…as time ticks away…I keep giving room to get the job done..when nothing happens…I evolve in this snarling the monster under the bed NAG MAMA. I feel your pain…it’s a thankless tiresome job.

  2. I told Mr. T when he was in 3rd grad that I wouldn’t be able to help him with math class after that year – because it exhausted the little bit of knowledge I’d retained! There have been a few times he’s asked for help – and I’ve turned to Google! 🙂
    So kudos to you for being able to keep up!

  3. Funny! I am a single mother of a 17, almost 18 year old son. This conversation sounds familiar. He just came home from a 6 week ballet intensive in Houston and last night I told him dinner was ready, twice. The second time I had glanced in his room to see that he was texting first. He looked up and said, “I know, you already told me,’ followed by, ‘Oh yea, I forgot what it was like living with you, you like to tell me the same thing over and over.’

    I’ve never posted one of my own blog posts in a comment before but its just SO similar I can’t resist!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Tanner Tweets

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 11,940 other followers
  • Past Posts

  • Contact Us

%d bloggers like this: