Measurements. Fractions. MATH!!!! I consider myself to be fairly intelligent. After homeschooling my daughter for 5 years I think I’ve got the hang of pretty much everything but complex chemistry because its dumb and I have no use for it (though it would probably come in handy with this whole instant pot business). However, I have come to tell you that children, especially teenagers, will turn you into the dumbest person in the neighborhood. You doubt this statement? I have proof!
My teenager came home with an assignment to make a batch of cookies. Great, we can do that! She gathered the recipe and informed me that first, we must purchase cream of tartar. Of course, my response is, “nah . . . that’s a fancy phrase for baking powder”. Forty-five minutes later (I did a test batch to check my theory) and the nastiest snickerdoodles I’ve ever tasted, we trucked ourselves to the local Piggly Wiggly.
Safely back at home, the kid goes to work. The first step is to take a recipe for two dozen cookies and break down the measurements to half of that. Awesome, that’s math. Not her favorite subject, but I hammered this stuff into her head for five years, surely, she can do this without me. Ten minutes later in prances my child with a recipe and the conversions for ingredients. For a moment I was certain my eyes were playing tricks on me. They were not.
2 ½ = 1 ½
2 ¾ = 1 ¾
Yeah . . . apparently, I must educate today. Just so you are aware, I have an internal gauge for my blood pressure. In times like this there is a bar in the upper right-hand corner of my vision field with 5 lights in succession from yellow to red (moving right to left). They light up the more agitated I get. I was already clearly at stage 1 because that first yellow light was quite blinding and the second one was starting to blink as I looked at these conversions and wondered if either of us would survive this assignment.
I took a breath (the second light went dark!!!!) and explained that ½ does not mean you just take away a whole number. That doesn’t make any sense at all. Let me stop here and explain a little something. When a child, any child, is tasked with making cookies they do not give a crap about the process, they want the cookies! I swear, this kid was already drooling just knowing what was coming in her near future. Moving on, she huffed and puffed and marched back to the kitchen counter to re-evaluate the situation. Stage 2 skipped the blinking period and immediately lit up in a darker stage than the first.
From my perch in the living room I can see everything. As I observe I notice light number 3 start a slow blink. I’m aware that my child is standing there utterly baffled by this NASA level complication. So, I offer verbal assistance. “Child! What is the denominator? What is the numerator? How many parts are in a whole?” Her response: “Can I use a calculator?” You guessed it, stage three is full blown orange and no longer blinking. This isn’t hard. I gave direction and a hint.
I directed this wonderful child of mine to break down the original measurements into quarters. Her response was some form of “dollar quarters or time quarters?” Obviously, my words came quickly, harshly, and full of a level of sarcasm that would rival many of my prior comebacks. “Uhhh . . . how about cooking quarters?” I could go on to explain the insanely ignorant conversation that ensued, but I’ll save you those five minutes. I couldn’t save them for myself, but I will do that for you.
Now that we have defined what a quarter is, we can proceed. This child, my child, a child I know has a brain, proceeds to announce that 11 has no half. It is a prime number, and this is the dumbest recipe ever. I agree on the dumb part, but I will reserve to whom or what it applies. She can’t remember to comb her hair, but she knows 11 is a prime number? Come on!!!!
After one of the most painful 4 minutes of my life, she managed to get out the measuring cups and realize that ½ and ¼ show her how many “parts” a whole has. Another nail on chalk board two minutes later she uses these tools to figure out that 5 ½ is the total of parts that she needs to convert. Are you confused? Because here is where things get ugly.
We’ve now invested well over 15 minutes into this conversion ordeal. I’ve reached stage 4/5 in my journey to oblivion/maximum annoyance. My child, this wonderful cherub, reached her own level 5 about 10 minutes ago. But we press on, there are snickerdoodles on the line. Mass confusion ensues because I’ve spent so much time explaining what the “parts” represent that I’ve managed to uneducate myself and have no idea what ½ of ¾ is.
I’m not going to admit that to her! So, I do math in my head. Nope, that’s not right. I do math out loud. Nope, now I sound kind of dumb. Finally, in a sudden moment of reality, I go to google. Google responds quickly and promptly with 6 tablespoons. Wait . . . what?! You mean I was expected to calculate a conversion to a different type of measurement? More importantly, why did I take on this task? We have a smart home! Alexa is the queen bee around here.
And just like that my trader child grabbed the measuring spoons, shook her head and called her fairly intelligent mother an idiot. She’s pretty lucky that stage 5 only blinked and that she has school tomorrow because survival would have been questionable if things shifted any other way. I’d also like to add that the second idiot involved in this little situation produced some sort of ok cookies . . . but there’s no need to spill those beans.