Thursday, October 08, 2009

A Beautiful Mind

My daughter loves arbitrary numbers. When the dogs are barking she will frequently say something like, “Maybe they’re barking at something 22 miles away.” When driving somewhere she often asks, “How much longer till we get there?” If I answer, “Just 30 minutes,” her reply is, “Well, at least it’s not 142 minutes.”

Optimistically put.

This fascination with numbers has an origination point I’m sure. But each time I come close to unraveling the mystery that accompanies my 3 foot 9 nine inch enigma, she throws me a blistering curve ball.

The other evening my husband and the boys were gone to soccer practice while the girls and I sat happily munching on pizza. Between bites my five-year-old chirped. “I’m smarter than Joel Caleb.”

Now this was a bold statement because Joel Caleb is one smart kid not to mention four years older than she is. Still I was curious to hear her logic; so attempting to guard her fragile ego I asked, “Why do think you are smarter than Joel Caleb?”

“I know I’m smarter because Joel Caleb doesn’t know that I eat paper.”

I sat there slack-jawed as she continued, “I try not to, but sometimes I still do eat paper,” she said with a mischievous grin.

Pushing the paper-eating comment to the back of my mind and trying to introduce reason I posed, “It’s not nice to say we’re smarter than somebody else.” But she couldn’t be stopped, so I gazed in amazement at my fiber-friendly munchkin while my seven-year-old giggled at the exchange.

“Well, I know I’m smarter about me because Joel Caleb doesn’t know what’s in my head. So I am smarter about my head.” She then elaborated on the anatomy of her brain. I must tell you; it was fascinating. “This part of my head is always counting, and it is so annoying. My forehead is always telling me to play my piano, and this part is telling me to take a bath,” she said while pointing to the different parts of her head.

She seemed exasperated after recounting the various functions of her brain. I just couldn’t get past the phrase, “This part of my head is always counting.” Ever trying to resolve the number mystery I wondered aloud, “What is it always counting?”

“It’s counting to a million,” she said reasonably.

“Do you even know how to count to a million?” I countered.

“No, but my head does!” she smiled.

So the number mystery remains hidden in an annoying region of my daughter’s brain. I can only assume the random number we hear at various times during any given day is not really random, but a number plucked from a series of numbers as her head cycles through one million over and over again.

Yes. I guess that would be pretty annoying.

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