<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/goetter/2352128932/"Photo by Raphael Goetter via Flickr
Alex and Leon enjoyed their baby sister, but they were amazed at how much work taking care of a baby could be. One particularly colicky night, everyone in the family took turns holding the baby, rocking the baby, patting her back, and walking her around before she finally succumbed to sleep.
Then Alex collapsed on the couch, and Leon sank into the recliner. They teased each other with these story problems.
A Multitude of Messes
Alex said, “A newborn baby seems tiny, but she can go through a lot of diapers. If Renée keeps up a steady pace of seven dipes/day until she is potty trained — let’s say, about two and a half years old — how many times will we have to change her?”
“None for me, thanks,” Leon said. “I’ll leave that job for you and Mom.”
How to Eat Like a Baby
Leon said, “Renée weighs about eight pounds now. She nurses every three hours, and Mom says she probably drinks about three ounces each time. How much would I have to eat to consume the same proportion of my body weight in a day?”
“Mom says you eat like a bottomless pit,” Alex said. “How much do you weigh?”
Leon laughed. “That would give it away.”
Alex threw a pillow at him.
“Okay! Last time I checked, I weighed 81 pounds.”
A Major Growth Spurt
“My turn,” Alex said. “Renée was about 20 inches long when she was born, and Mom says she’ll grow about 10 inches more in her first year. If she kept growing at the same rate until her thirteenth birthday, how big would she be then?”
“Uh . . . Big enough for the WNBA?”
The Crying Congregation
“You were helping Mom in the nursery at church,” Leon said.
“Why me?” Alex said.
“And there were a bunch of babies, some sleeping and some crying.”
“Sounds like she needs the help!”
“And finally you managed to get one of the crying babies to go to sleep. Then there were the same number of sleeping and awake babies.”
“Whew! That’s a relief.”
“But when you laid the baby in a crib, another one woke up. And when he started crying, he woke the one next to him. And then there were twice as many crying babies as there were asleep.”
“Oh, no!” Alex said. “You have a nasty imagination, Leon. Do you realize that?”
“So the question is, how many babies were there in all?”
To Be Continued…
Read all the posts from the November/December 1999 issue of my Mathematical Adventures of Alexandria Jones newsletter.