“Dad, I have a math test tomorrow,” said my daughter not too long ago. “Can you help me study?” “Sorry, Sweetie, I won’t be home until late tonight,” my husband responded apologetically. “I’ll help you!” I offered. There was stunned silence. Not because I offered to help, but because I offered to help with math.

“Dad, I have a math test tomorrow,” said my daughter not too long ago. “Can you help me study?”


“Sorry, Sweetie, I won’t be home until late tonight,” my husband responded apologetically.


“I’ll help you!” I offered.


There was stunned silence. Not because I offered to help, but because I offered to help with math.


“What?!” I bellowed. “I can do math!”


Spontaneous laughter erupted, followed by snorts of disbelief.


I glared at both of them and stomped out of the room.


Truthfully, I did not have the best reputation in my family when it came to helping my kids with math. When my son was in third grade, his teacher asked him if a rhombus was a parallelogram. I told him the answer was no.


“A rhombus is a Spanish dance,” I said definitively.


That was probably the last time either of my kids asked me for help with their math homework.


I really have no idea why I am so bad at math. I’m not a stupid person. I have a fairly high IQ, as evidenced by the fact that I am the only one in my family who knows when it is time to replace the roll of toilet paper. But math has always been a problem for me. My husband is convinced that I am merely math-a-phobic, but I suspected there was more to it than that. Something just didn’t add up.


I thought that maybe it had something to do with being math-traumatized as a young child. When I was little I had a teacher who asked me what 2 plus 2 equals. Unfortunately, I had fallen asleep on my mat on the floor and I woke up with a start when I heard my name. I sat up quickly and yelled, “Barbequed chicken!” Is it any wonder I have been math-challenged ever since? Oddly enough, though, I am still a big fan of barbequed chicken.


Then one day as I was reading the newspaper online, I saw an article about something called dyscalculia. It said that people with dyscalculia have a normal intelligence but struggle with even simple math concepts. According to the study, anything with numbers can cause people with dyscalculia to have anxiety and even panic.


“This is me!!” I shouted to the dog. “I am dyscalculic!”  I was so excited about this realization that I immediately picked up the phone to tell my mom.


“Guess what,” I exclaimed. “I finally figured out that the reason I have always been so bad at math! I have something called dyscalculia, which is like math dyslexia.”


“What are the symptoms?” she asked.


“Well, when you have dyscalculia, you have trouble with numbers and math concepts which is why I always thought that a rhombus was a kind of Spanish dance.”


There was silence on the other side of the phone.


Finally my mom responded. “It’s not?”


“And apparently dyscalculia is also inherited.”


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