Tuesday, October 4, 2016

How To Answer: "How Old Is She?"

Our baby girl (also known around these parts as "Thing 3") just turned 22 months old this week. I know when she was born. I know exactly how old she is. And yet, when people ask, "How old is she?" I never know quite what to tell them.

She's at an awkward age where I'm not sure how to answer that question. There are a variety of different acceptable replies, but I never know precisely what kind of information the inquirer wants.

I could say:
A) "She's 22 months old."
But, some people don't like that kind of information. It makes them feel that they need to do math. "Let's see...12 goes into 22 one time with...ten left over, and then you take the ten and carry the...." Some people just don't want to do math, no matter how simple it might be. These folks will think to themselves, "Why didn't he just say 'almost two?'"

So, I could say:
B) "She's almost two."
But, this isn't precise enough for some people. In their mind, "almost two" could mean anything from a year-and-a-half to two years.

Or, I could say:
C) "She's around two."
This is even more vague, and could mean anything from year-and-a-half to two-and-a-half years. Some people might think, "Duh, I can tell she's around two. I was asking for how many months!"

I could say:
D) "She's a little over a year-and-a-half."

Or, I could say:
E) "She's between a year-and-a-half and two."
Again, while these answers would be fine for some people, they aren't exact enough for others.

I might even say:
F) "She'll be two in December."
This makes it a bit more understandable for the math-impaired.

Or, I could say something like:
G) "She's old enough to start getting into everything!"
This is a smart-alecky answer I might give if, a) I didn't want to do the math myself; or 2) I didn't feel like telling the questioner how old my girl is.

"She's two-ish."
It doesn't have to be all arbitrary. The Wife has a formula for this. She says that once a baby reaches two of anything you should stop using the smaller measure. For example, you can say a baby is 13 days old, but once it turns two weeks old you would say "two weeks" instead of "14 days" old. Likewise, you would say "two months" instead of "eight weeks," and "two years" instead of "24 months."

Of course, just because this formula exists, it doesn't mean anything is set in stone. You really can say it however you would like to say it. It's a free country.

My youngest son (Thing 4) is about four-and-a-half months old. And if people ask me "How old is he?" I'll usually say, "About four-and-a-half months." But, if I'm feeling especially snarky, I might switch it over to weeks. "Oh, he's 19 weeks old."

Why? Because sometimes it's fun to watch the look on people's faces as they struggle to do math in their head.

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