When our daughter and second child was born I decided to create some new family traditions, especially for Christmas which is my favorite holiday. What does this have to do with math in real life? I am getting to that. Be patient – I type slow.

After much thought, the tradition I came up with was to trace the kids’ hands on felt, cut them out, write their names and the year with glitter and glue them on our tree skirt. Simple, right? You can imagine how cute their tiny hands looked that first year. I was very proud of myself for this keepsake tradition and imagined that several years had passed and they were home visiting from college. Of course, they were admiring all of their sweet hand cutouts on the trees skirt and saying what a loving, creative and thoughtful Mother I was?

Well, back to reality and the present, 6 years after I cut out that first handprint…

I recently got out the tree skirt after helping the kids pick out their felt and glitter for this year. Much to my surprise and dismay, I discovered that the tree skirt was missing some handprints. “Oh well, I’ll just fake last year’s,” I thought. But no, we were missing 4 years worth! How could this happen? How was I going to make that many sets of hands for both kids? They would never be the correct size. I started to think of a solution and wondering if I should pour a glass of wine instead. Just kidding. I can do this!

Our kids grow about 2 inches a year according to the pediatrician, or I’m not feeding them properly. So 2 inches a year times 4 years equals 8 inches. If child A is 48 inches tall now that means they were 40 inches 4 years ago. 48 divided by 40 equals 1.2. I know my math isn’t the best but isn’t that 20% growth in 4 years? All I have to do is take 20% divide by 4 to figure out how much bigger to make their hands each year. I did the calculations and got 5%. Common sense tells me that I should think about feeding them more.

My brain tells me to just take this year’s hand and make another one 5% smailler. How exactly am I going to do that? That is easier said than done. If you have a brilliant solution please post it in the comments. For now, I’ve decided to take their handprint from this year and photocopy it at 95%, 90%, 85% and 80%, trace them and cut them out. Whew!

Sometimes it’s tough being such a loving, creative and thoughtful Mom. Haha. Don’t tell my kids! They will never know. They also do not need to know that their father saw the look on my face after cutting out just the paper hands and finished all 3 sets of the felt hands and wrote the years in glitter glue. Moral of the story – stay in school and pay attention in Math class. Better lesson is not to procrastinate. Happy Holidays! Whatever you celebrate I hope you enjoy this time with your friends and family.

Hands on Christmas tree skirt