Maths for mums

Emma Milner is going back to school and getting in some maths revision before it gets embarrassing

I have never been one for figures, unless it’s to do with money off in the sales – I can work out those numbers quicker than the speed of light. But when I think of Sam and Joe one day bringing me their maths homework in the expectation that I’ll know the answers, a wave of sickness fills my stomach. So before I pass a number phobia onto them, it’s time for me to face my fears and start cramming. But where to start? It’s like a foreign language! (Mmm, something else I might have to look at.) Well, they say stick with what you know – so here we go: Basic Maths for Mums.


We mums are just one in two billion. That’s right, there are approximately two billion mums in the world. No matter how hard we have it, we can rest assured that billions of women around the world are going through the same thing, day in day out. Strangely, at 6.30pm, when Sam should be heading to bed, not trying to escape out of the front door, and Joe’s screaming Dubai down, this doesn’t provide much solace.


Babies are supposed to come when they’re due. In my case and in most of my friends’ cases, it was when they were ready. Depending where you look, three, five or seven per cent of babies are born on their due dates. When it came to my two, it was zero per cent. Sam was five weeks early and Joe was five days late.


It is believed, in my opinion by those bods who clearly haven’t had babies, that we will spend about US$10,000 (Dhs36,730) on a baby before it turns one. And the rest! Looking at all the clothes, toys, books, furniture and other baby paraphernalia cluttering up our apartment, I would say we spent that before Sam was even born. I dread to think what it was by the time he was one. However, I did read once that the more you use something, the less it costs. So, as Joe is using Sam’s clothes and toys, if I keep dividing the cost, it must mean that most of our stuff is practically free by now.

Universal Time

Apparently, pre-schoolers demand their mummy’s attention once every four minutes – about 210 times each day! As Sam is just coming into his terrible twos, it feels like much more than that. Add in Joe every four minutes and I am running out of day. I just wish their fourth minute wasn’t so synchronised!


Sam is now two. It is hard to believe. What is harder to believe is that I have changed about 7,300 nappies for him in the past two years and, with my reluctance to potty train (honestly, I just can’t face it right now), the figure is going up. We’re still tallying up Joe’s, but he should be at about 1,520. When it’s put like that I feel a pang of guilt that I am not using reusable nappies. That guilt soon goes when I see the already mounting pile of washing that I also don’t have time to attend to.


I am obsessed with Sam and Joe’s weight. When Sam was little, he was huge. The doctor used to tell me he was too fat every time I saw him. Then, all of a sudden. Sam had a growth spurt and became long and skinny. The doctor said he was too thin. He is due to see the doctor again very soon and I am dreading it. He now weighs about 13kg. He has only put on about 2kg in the past six to eight months, which, as he usually falls sick just before we go to the docs, he’ll likely lose. With Joe weighing a staggering 8kg at five months, I just know I am going to be in trouble.


There is a big difference between a five-month-old and a two-year-old when it comes to shapes. The five-month-old couldn’t give a monkey’s what shape it is as long as it can be rammed into his mouth to ease his teething pain. The two-year-old loves shapes. He likes circles, because sometimes they come covered in chocolate. He likes rectangles, because that’s the shape of the TV. But the triangle is his favourite at the moment, because that’s the shape of his tent.


Apparently having children makes you smarter, but I wouldn’t count on it!

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