Saturday, June 21, 2008

in which we deal with our son's annoying one-upmanship by doing it ourselves

C: I know more than any of you about anything.
D: Everyone has different types of knowledge which they know best.
S: I know how to use logistic regression.
D: I know how to change the oil in the car.
C: Well I know most everything better than you, and EVERYTHING more than A.
D: A knows people's names better than any of the rest of us.
S: When people we can't remember show up at parties we ask A what their names are. (This is in fact true.)
C: Well that's not really useful information.

A: Five hours is a far car ride.
C: You mean a LONG car ride.
D: We are far away from Oma and Opa's house.

A: I can count to 100.
C:You can't count to 1000. I can count to any number there is.
S: You can't count to pi.
C: Pie isn't a number.
D: Pi is the name of a number that's 3.14 something...
A: I can count to ten in Spanish. Uno, dos...
S: "Cosine, secant, tangent, sine, 3.14159!"
A: tres, cuatro, cinco, seis...
C: Shut UP, A!
D: and it's interesting because it's an irrational number that goes on and on forever after the decimal point.
A: siete, ocho, nuev, diez!
D: That's great A!
C: Shut UP, A! So how do you count to it?
S and D: YOU CAN'T.
C: Wow, that's weird.
D: Invisible numbers are even weirder.
C: How can a number be invisible?
S: You mean imaginary?
C: (giggles) If it's imaginary it's not real!
S: That's right, it's not a "real" number, and you can't count to it either, but it's useful when you're calculating things.
C: So what IS it?
S: The square root of negative one.
(Numerous other questions arose that got too difficult to field since (a) C has no experience with negative numbers except arithmetically and (b) we were in the car and I couldn't try to demonstrate anything on paper.)

(At our potluck, all the other kids were off playing and C hung out with the grown-ups for a while. His method of making conversation was to quiz us on WWII.)
C: What was the Marshall Plan?
Brian: The Marshall Plan was the U.S.'s post-war plan for rebuilding the economic systems of Europe (etc. etc. etc.)
C (shocked): How did YOU know that?

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