I used to be the smartest woman in the world. I know this may be kind of arrogant to say, but it’s true. Until recently, my kids thought that I was absolutely brilliant. I could add double-digit numbers in my head (oooh!), I could name all the oceans and continents (ahhh!), and I knew all the colors of the rainbow. Then, of course, my kids started school and slowly my stronghold on brilliance started to ebb away. By the time my son hit fourth grade, I had become an absolute moron.

Somehow I had made it through my primary school, high school and college getting good grades, so I must have learned something. But sometime between my graduation from college and now, all those little facts I swore I’d never use (and actually never did), had either disappeared into the recesses of my mind or were part of the brain cells that died when I gave birth to my children.

Much as I hate to support the gender stereotype, I was never that interested in (or particularly good at) math and science. But fortunately I had a husband and kids who excelled at both, which would normally be a good thing because my husband could theoretically help the kids with their math and science homework and we’d all be happy. The problem was, my husband was never home at homework time, which left only me to answer the question: Is a rhombus a parallelogram?

“Is this a trick question?” I asked my son.

“No,” he said. “It’s a homework question.”

“Isn’t a rhombus a kind of Spanish dance?” I asked.

“No. That’s a rumba.”

“Oh. What’s a rhombus?”

“It’s kind of like a square except it’s slanted,” he responded, disgust thinly veiled.

“Oh. What’s a parallelogram?”

“Two pairs of parallel sides,” he said.

“Hmmm,” I mused. “I happen to know for a fact that this is one of those things you’ll never use in your adult life.”

My son sighed. “That’s fine, Mom, but I will have to use it in my childhood to pass fourth-grade math.”

“I mean, when Dad bought me an engagement ring, he didn’t ask me if I wanted a rhombus-shaped diamond,” I continued.

“Mom ...”

“Or when we renovated the house, the architect didn’t ask me if I want a rhombus-shaped bedroom.”

“Mom!”

“Okay. Let’s see ... I know,” I finally said triumphantly. “Let’s call Dad!”

I dialed the phone. “Hey honey, I have a question for you. Is a rhombus a parallelogram?”

“Yes,” he said, and hung up. That was it. Just yes. He knew, he answered, he hung up. I, on the other hand, had worked up such a mental sweat that my eyebrows hurt.

Now, I had never claimed to be a genius at math. But still, it’s a little embarrassing to not even be functioning at a fourth-grade level. So, that night, while my son was sleeping, I rifled through his backpack, pulled out his math textbook and read the chapter on geometric forms.

The next afternoon at homework time, I slyly said to my son, “So, how ’bout them trapezoids?”

He looked at me blankly. “Huh?”

“Do you want me to go over quadrangles with you?” I asked him.

“No,” he replied.

“Why not?”

“Because we’re done with that section. Now we’re starting fractions.”

This is a repeated Lost in Suburbia column, which has appeared in GateHouse Media newspapers since 2008. As Tracy Beckerman’s main column is shifting focus - her kids are grown and she has moved back to the city - we are rerunning her earlier work for readers who may have missed these the first time around. You can follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LostinSuburbiaFanPage/ and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tracybeckerman.