Tag Archives: cardinal numbers


Parenting is a tremendous amount of work. Within that work are beautiful moments of love and joy. For Tabitha and me, these moments often involve music. We had an impromptu dance party in the kitchen the other night that began with my putting on some music to do dishes by.

When Griffin was born about 8 years ago, I began maintaining playlists. Each year, I collect songs that the kids liked, or that I was listening to, or that reminded me of them in some way. Some years I remember to burn these to CDs to share with family members. But I never delete them.

That first playlist is titled “Griffin year 1″.

Do you see the math here?

Tabitha (five): Are you done with my year 5 playlist yet?

Me: Yes. I finished that when you turned 5. Now I’m working on your year 6 playlist; I’m collecting a bunch of songs during the year and it will be done on your birthday.

T: Why isn’t this my year 5 playlist?

Me: Good question. Well…your first playlist I started before you turned one…

T: When I was zero years old.

Me: Right. Then when you turned one, I started your year 2 playlist. That’s what it means to be 1 year old; that your first year is over and you’re in your second year.

So when will I work on your year 10 playlist?

T: When I’m 9.

Me: How do you know that?

T: I don’t know. I just do…

So you’re working on Griffy’s year 9 playlist now? [Her brother Griffin is 8 years old]

Me: Yes. Nice. I was just about to ask you that, but you thought about it on your own. Good thinking.

T: Will you still be working on them when I’m an adult?

Me: I would gladly still work on them when you’re an adult. I don’t know if you’ll want me to at that point, but if you do, I will.

T: Oh, I will. Hey! Can you play my favorite song about the flower?

And so began the dance party.

What do video games have to do with cardinal numbers? I’m gonna find out!

Two gems from the excellent article on games in today’s New York Times Magazine.

First up is a dystopian take on gamification:

Gamification seeks to turn the world into one giant chore chart covered with achievement stickers

This is certainly my fear. And I hate that no one ever seems to observe that some people don’t want badges.

Second to the plate is the game Drop7. I was not at all interested in the game despite the author’s description of it as very addictive. But then (emphasis added):

Drop7 occupies a “hinge in the universe” that is at once mathematical (it allows you to play between the ordinal and cardinal meanings of a number) and spiritual: it holds you in a place between conscious problem-­solving and pure intoxication.

What?!? Cardinal and ordinal numbers in a video game? I’m in, baby!