### Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

Math Geek Mom: Minor Worries
May 31, 2012 - 8:04pm

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As I age, my eyes are staring to betray me. This is something that I particularly notice when I am reading things that involve superscripts or subscripts, which occurs often in math and economics. For example, if a term is squared, there is a small “2” written above the original term, and when there is a sequence of terms, each term in that sequence can be written with a tiny subscript denoting its place, such as “1” or “2”, in the sequence. Such numbers, which are smaller than regular numbers but are still very important, pose a challenge to my aging eyes, and encourage me to use reading glasses. They also came to mind as I watched a minor league baseball game the other night. While smaller and less prestigious than major league baseball, these games are still very exciting. After attending three such games, I have become quite a fan of minor league baseball.

There is a minor league baseball team not far from our home, and in order to encourage attendance, they often designate evenings to celebrate special groups. Members of those groups receive free admission, while those who accompany them receive discounted tickets. When my daughter received a “free” ticket recently to celebrate an award her track team had won, all three of us attended. Of course, there was the necessary ice cream and nachos and even cotton candy that made the “free” tickets not so free, making me realize what a good marketing strategy they were using. Before the game, she and her team (and members of several other groups being honored that night) marched around the field, waving to their admirers in the stands. With the stands only a few feet from the field, we could see them clearly, and they could see us. Indeed, we could see everything quite clearly, as the game took place very close to all of our seats.

I have to suspect that those in charge think that people don’t really like to watch baseball for its own sake, as they pepper the game with at least one diversion in almost every inning. There was a race among several people dressed as stuffed fish and a hopping race between two fans on stuffed horses, and even a contest between two children to see who could build a “burrito” fastest from oversized imitation ingredients that were placed on the field. But my favorite diversion was the attempt of one fan to catch rubber chickens in a metal basket that would be used as a deep fryer while the music played the “chicken dance” (always a favorite dance at the Italian weddings I grew up attending) all sponsored, of course, by “Mr. Chicken.” Indeed, most of the diversions provided another way to earn money from marketing, and were sponsored by as diverse groups as an ice cream brand and a beer company (which sponsored a “beer batter”.)

Despite all of the commercialization, the games were great. In the few games I have attended, I have seen someone steal a base, several home runs and more excitement than is usually seen in major league games. I regret think, however, that I almost passed on one game because it was held on a school night. After being tempted to keep my daughter home, I relented and decided to let her join the group, hoping that staying up so late would not hinder her school work the next day.

While we enjoyed the evening at the game, I felt a little guilty about this decision when my daughter came home the other day with an assignment to research how much sleep children her age need. She discovered that children her age should be getting about 10-12 hours of sleep each night. I spoke with another mother, who said that her child did not get that much sleep, which made us wonder; how could they get that much sleep, with school starting before 8 AM and us picking them up on our way home from work each day? How could we fit homework and dinner into the time left, and still allow our children to get that much sleep each night? And so I want to ask my readers; how much sleep do your children get each night, and how do you fit it into their schedule? I would love any ideas you have to share.

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