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Cookies

Picture taken by TwinBug Photography
twinbugphotography@yahoo.com
The other night I made cookies with the boys. While the toddlers sat in their high chairs yelling, "Mooow! Moooow!" (their attempt at "more," their universal word for want/please/give me) and pointing at the oven as the cookies baked, our preschooler worked on some math. I drew 5 circles on a piece of paper, representing each family member. (He quickly drew chocolate chips, so instead of circles, there were 5 cookies.) We then counted out how many cookie dough balls we had and represented each cookie with a counting bear. His goal was to as evenly as possible spread out the counting bears over each circle to see how many cookies each family member would get. We were working on his math and trying to teach fairness. We had 11 bears and 5 circles.

1st Attempt
I explained to our four-year old that each bear was a cookie. However many bears were on your circle were how many cookies you would get once they baked. Probably not the best way to explain this to a four-year old, in hindsight. He quickly plunked 1 bear on Momma, 1 bear on Dadda, and 1 bear each on his brothers, then piled the rest of the bears on his circle. "Momma! You all get one and I get 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7! Woo hoo!"

2nd Attempt
Realizing my error, I attempted to explain fairness. "D, we want everyone to have an even amount of cookies. How would you feel if C got 7 cookies and you only 1?" I pointed to his circle as I said this. He nodded indulgently, "Well, that is not C's circle. That is my circle. So I have 7 cookies and C only has 1. See?" I pushed 6 bears over to C's circle, leaving 1 bear on his, and asked the question again. He contemplates this for a second and replies, "Well, now that's my circle [pointing at C's circle with 7 bears] and that is C's circle [pointing at his]."

3rd Attempt
At this point, the toddlers are tired of yelling "more" at the oven and have started to impatiently wonder where the cookies are. I tried to distract them with crayons and paper. O thought this was a fun new game; C would not be distracted. He wanted cookies and he wanted them now. He picked up his little cup of crayons and threw them on the floor. His piece of paper quickly followed. I shook my head and said, "No, sir, we do not behave that way!" I struggled with him for a minute, trying to teach him the appropriate behavior. He refused to listen and D interjected, "Don't worry, Momma. I took away his bear. And put it on mine."

4th Attempt
This is when I wondered if I was teaching anything at all to anyone. I sat back down with D and gave a brief lesson on fairness and kindness. His eyes glazed over and I stood up to check on the cookies. When I turned around, there were 2 bears on each of the 5 circles. D proudly announced, "Well, looks like there is 1 leftover for me! You guys get 2 and I get 3!" D, D, D... So close. I congratulated him on his math, spreading out the bears fairly, then pushed the leftover bear to Daddy's circle. "We always give Daddy the extra cookie, bud." D furrowed his brow, "One day I will be the daddy and get the extra cookie."

Thankfully the timer went off right then-- saved by the bell.

Obviously we have a few things to work on.

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