I think I have a new top favorite “thing” that my kid does. It’s something Noah does as he continually tries to wrap his brain around numbers and as he learns to vocalize the big numbers that he learns.
Noah is four. He still hasn’t quite mastered the numbers one through twenty. One through ten, he can do no problem. Eleven, twelve, thirteen, and fourteen, slick as black ice. Fifteen and sixteen, most of the time. Then he usually skips straight to twenty. We’re working on it.
But, let’s be honest here. The world doesn’t revolve around the numbers one through fourteen. There are bigger numbers. Like fifty. Or a hundred. Or a thousand. Or, gulp, even a million.
And so, when Noah really wants to show his dedication to something, or the magnitude of something, or the sheer quantity of anything… he starts shooting out those big numbers that he’s heard; the ones that he has no clue what they actually mean.
“I’m going to beat you taking a nap,” I told him yesterday as I flopped him into my bed.
“Nuh uh, Dad! I’m gonna beat you!”
I passed him a humorously furled brow and a scowl. “I don’t think so, I’m way more tired than you.”
He just folded his arms, looked me dead in the eye and said, “well, I’m forty six one hundred ninety nine tired.”
“That’s impossible, nobody’s that tired.”
“Well,” I said, “I’m twenty-five seventy-two nine hundred twenty seven and thirty four tired.”
Not to be outdone, he started adding in some of his bigger numbers. “Well guess what, Dad. I’m sixty seven thousand hundred fourteen nine hundred twenty two tired!”
Dad is stubborn, and doesn’t like to be outdone either. “Well, I’m a hundred thousand fifty two seventeen eighty six hundred thousand two hundred twenty two tired,” I said.
Then Noah moved into the millions.
So did Dad.
Then the billions.
So did dad.
And, while laughing my freaking face off, I decided to introduce numbers to Noah that were bigger than ANY of those.
“I’m six hundred billion kazillion gagillion fifty seven trillion indillion million tired!”
“Whoa, Dad. That’s too much.”
He was right. It had gotten a little out of hand at that point.
So, we got rid of the extra giant made-up numbers and kept determining who was the most tired with the less extreme “millions and thousands of tired”.
I won’t tell you that we played the game for nearly two hours.
Noah finally won.
And so much time had passed that he never actually got to sleep during his “nap.”
And later that night I got a text from his mom asking if I’d please do my best to get him down for his naps each day so that he wasn’t a cranky pants during his hours with her.
“I do!” I proclaimed defensively.
“He said he didn’t get one today,” she insisted.
“Well, I put him down for a nap, he just never fell asleep. We were too busy practicing numbers and time got away from us.” I felt that the rest of the truth wasn’t completely necessary information for her to have.
I promised her my best efforts in the future, and sent her one last text.
Tell Noah I love him sixty-five twenty four hundred ninety-two thousand and seventy four.
There’s no way he was going to beat that.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS. Have any of you parents ever cracked-up over the way your kid randomly starts spouting off numbers that he (or she) doesn’t really understand?