Funny Friday – Convos with Hannah – The Question of Zero

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Every family has a kid that questions everything. In our case, that kid is highly observant and smart as a whip. You can see the wheels cranking inside her little blond head each time she’s confused or less than impressed with an explanation we’ve given to one of her incredibly intelligent observations. Her eyebrows bob and her blue eyes squint as she considers what you’ve said and determines whether she agrees or disagrees.

Homeschooling a kid like this is sometimes challenging and hilarious to say the least. There’s nothing better to make an adult feel like a major numb-nut than to have a little person show them up on any random undertaking. We are regularly schooled by our precocious little Hannah. She’s a big brain in a tiny package.

When she was about four years old, she began to show an interest in counting and numbers so we started “doing math”. This basically consisted of counting things and looking at numbers. We counted bugs, we counted toys, beans and candy. I eventually ordered a Math-U-See Primer book to start with her. This is the conversation we shared when I was introducing the concept of “zero”.

Hannah: (head cocked to the side and eyes narrowed) Mommy, can I ask you something?

Me: Sure.

Hannah: If we count two blocks, then we put this one here and this one here. (puts two blocks together on the table) If we count three, then we get these and put them here. (puts three blocks together)

Me: Yep, you got it, sister.

Hannah: When I take all these blocks away, it’s what?

Me: Zero

Hannah: Why is there a name for it if it’s nothing?

Me: (crickets in background) Um…

Hannah: ‘Cause if it’s nothing, why don’t we just not call it anything?

Me: Well, look here in the book. If there’s no number in the ones place or tens place, we put Mr. Zero there to hold the place.

Hannah: Well, who made this up? It doesn’t make any sense. I don’t know why nothing has to have a name.

Me: (clearly defeated) You know what? You’re totally right. But let’s just go with it.

Hannah: (Rolls her eyes) Okay, Mommy.


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