Math Kisses

bedtime math

A babysitter when I was about eight years old first introduced me to the song.
It’s a silly little ditty:

“Good Night, Leah,
Good Night, Leah,
Good Night, Leah,
It’s time to go to bed,
Boop Boop!”

and she accented the “boops” with her hips as she left my doorway.

When Ali was little, I sang it to her and soon it was a regular part of our bedtime routine. Over the years (Ali is now 13) and through three children, the song has grown, changed and evolved. Each child has added his or her own individual enhancements. A second verse bloomed, “I love [insert kids’ name here], I love [kid sings Mommy/Daddy as parent sings kid’s name], I love [you get the idea], it’s time to go to bed, boop boop.” Michael now says “wee-ooo” instead of “boop boop,” we sing the names of everyone in the family (and our bird, Piper) and new phrases have crept in (“I love Ali, so much, I love Michael, so much…”)

As the song has lengthened, perhaps initially to delay the actual bedtime, it has remained a special part of ending the day.  I don’t know how or when, but years ago, Anna (our youngest who just turned eight) began giving two kisses in between each phrase and instead of the boop boops. One night I realized she was counting the kisses on her fingers, we would end up with 16 kisses and run out of fingers, and then we always had to kiss four more times to get to an even 20.

I suggested she count by twos using one finger for each pair of kisses, so Anna started learning and practicing counting by twos. We added a challenge and I’d give her one kiss before singing and she’d need to count by twos on the odd numbers.

Then she wanted to get to 100 so we’d get there by twos on evens one night and on odds another (a creative way to elongate good nights I realize). Soon we were counting by threes and adding three kisses throughout the song then kissing to 100 by threes (plus a few).

Easy multiplication came into the picture as she saw that two kisses ten times is twenty, then three kisses ten times is thirty. We did subtraction as Anna figured out how many more kisses we needed to get from 24 to 30 or 62 to 70.

It’s amazing how a simple song became a special tradition and even added an accidental educational element to bedtime. Math kisses have given me countless smiles and laughs and exponential snuggle time with my littlest.

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5 Responses to Math Kisses

  1. Danielle says:

    Great story! Thanks for sharing it. :)

  2. Andi Howard says:

    I loved this! It reminds me of the bedtime routine I used to have with my mom. And, in fact, the non-profit I work for right now, Bedtime Math, was also born out of a nightly routine. Like Math Kisses, it has evolved, too, with a new, fun math problem posted on our website every day for other kids and their families to enjoy. (It’s http://www.bedtimemath.org, if you want to check it out.) I think it’s wonderful how such memorable moments can simultaneously be teachable moments. Thanks for sharing this. It brought a smile to my face!

  3. […] If your kids are older, sometimes the chances aren’t as available between after school homework and driving between activities. Even with a busy schedule, finding 15-20 minutes to connect with your school-aged kid or tween can be done. Making the time will pay off in a closer relationship and your actions will let your child know he’s valuable to you. Anna’s bedtime is still a sacred one on one time. We read, say prayers and sing our special song and do math after and during the song. […]

  4. Leah DeCesare says:

    When I changed to Disqus, the old comments didn’t transfer – here they are:
    ldecesare
    Submitted on 2012/06/02 at 12:48 pm | In reply to Andi Howard.

    What a great name, Bedtime Math, I had no idea it was out there, how uncanny
    that our Math Kisses fits right into that! I just checked out http://www.bedtimemath.org – it’s terrific – thanks for sharing!

    Andi Howard
    bedtimemath.org
    Submitted on 2012/06/01 at 6:49 pm

    I loved this! It reminds me of the bedtime routine I used to have with
    my mom. And, in fact, the non-profit I work for right now, Bedtime Math, was also born out of a nightly routine. Like Math Kisses, it has evolved, too, with a new, fun math problem posted on our website every day for other kids and their families to enjoy. (It’s http://www.bedtimemath.org,if you want to check it out.) I think it’s wonderful how such memorable moments can simultaneously be teachable moments. Thanks for sharing this. It brought a smile to my face!

    Danielle
    Submitted on 2012/05/29 at 12:16 pm

    Great story! Thanks for sharing it.

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