Sums it all up

Trasna an uisce

My head was all a spin last week with numbers, NAMA numbers, all 50 billion of them. Don’t get me started. I don’t have the energy for a rant. There is no leadership. There is no accountability. There is no empathy. How could there be, from politicians living in a bubble? Hell will freeze over before any of them will raise their hand and say ‘sorry, we got it all wrong’. Told ya not to get me started. I’m in a tizzy this week with more numbers. My head feels like a snow globe, when I lie down all the digits float into the space surrounding my would be brain. It’s numeracy here, not maths, not even sums as it was in my day. It was easy then, plus, minus, equals, divide by, carry one over and off ya go. Here, in primary school, they do things differently and all I’m hearing between sobs and frustrated pulling of hair is ‘that’s not the way Miss used to do it in Ireland’. Now The Middle has decided she doesn’t like sums anymore even though she’s a dinger at them. She sets herself high standards. I know it will click. I will have to dig deep for the patience and tenacity required. The mathematical language is dissimilar. There’s talk of chunking and arrays and woe betide ya if you mention ‘carry over’. We are not to teach our children maths the way we were taught, teacher told us at a ‘Multiplication for Mums and Dads’ evening. Sure what else would you be doing of a Tuesday night. The response in our day, at the kitchen table doing homework, (while the dreaded stew with the sneaky parsnips boiled on the range ) to a cry for assistance with maths was ‘I don’t know anything about equations, ask your brother’. And the rows continue over the lack of decent pencils and no toppers.

So there’s those maths. Then there are my own stats. I have to master a fancy Excel package, all by my own self, for a research project. Here’s where Himself comes in. I have him driven demented. Chi-squares, Spearman’s rho correlations do not float my boat; I got on fine without them up until now, thank you very much. Discombobulated is the only way to describe my demeanour at this present moment. The trajectory for the book-window-outside wheelie bin has already been worked out and I didn’t need any maths for that. It will just take maximum force and velocity.

Regardless of all things numerical the kids have found their groove in school and out with the calendar full of social engagements and activities. The bell rings regularly for them to come out and play and now the problem is trying to get homework done before they go out. I’m not complaining. Some of the mums are trying their damnest to coerce me to join the PTA. One of them informs me of the executive committee’s (remember this is a primary school ) modus operandi ‘we work ratha well deputy cha and cha, she’s strotegy and I’m join us..we need aaall the help we can get’. Whatever you’re having yourself, but I’m washing my hair for any of those meetings. I don’t mind making the tea, stacking chairs, cleaning up or supervising children but not the PTA. Fireworks display, book fairs, cake sales, movie nights in local theatre are all marked in the calendar. The school’s hard working fundraising committee know how to skilfully extract all that hard earned City cash from the Land Rover glasses-on-the-forehead crew with a fab black tie do apparently organised for early next year. I’ll have to dust off the gúna déas nua and heels for that one. Nathin like a bit of turkey and ham followed by copious pints, heels off and ‘hands..touchin hands...Sweet Caroline..oh oh oh’, a good old social. I’ll be looking forward to that one.

Anne Joyce McCarthy is chief bottle-washer, wife of one, mother of three (eleven year old boy, eight-year-old twin girls ), student, newbie blogger and occasional jogger. Originally from Corrib Park, Galway, she moved last month from Galway to Oxfordshire with her family.


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