Ask Your Kids if Numbers Have Personalities

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I’m going to tell you this even though it’s really weird.

The other day my son and I were talking. I told him that I thought the number one was like a stern dad, number two is married to one and she is the mom of three (who is kind of selfish), four (who is very nice), and five (who is really talented but demanding and sometimes emotionally abuses four).

I’ve got the whole story worked out to about number twelve. Incidentally, I was never very good at math.

It may be weird that I anthropomorphize numerals. But my son does it too. He was all,  “No way. One is a baby!” We both think seven is a bit of a cad.

My husband was totally blown away and had no idea what we were talking about. Some people do it and some don’t. It’s called ordinal linguistic personification. No one really knows what it means, cognitively, except that it stems from “cross-talk” between spheres in the brain. Here’s another person’s description of the numbers. It’s not just me!

My daughter thinks of herself as eight. I relate most to two. My older son and I agree that eight is sometimes mistreated by nine but eight loves nine fiercely anyway. My daughter and I both think of most even numbers as female and my sons think of them as male. There is no correlation between mathematics aptitude and personifying numbers, at least not in my family.

I don’t know what it means. I don’t know why I told you.  But it’s actually very  interesting to talk about. My kids can go on and on explaining the relationships between the numbers and the characteristics of each one. They don’t have to think about it–it’s just like describing a person they know. I feel the same way. It was really shocking to find out that Ben thinks of one as three and four’s baby when I think if one as the patriarch of all the numbers. I mean, it doesn’t matter but it’s a glimpse into my kids’ interior life.

Do you and your kids think of numbers with personalities? You really have to get back to me on this one.

More of my Babbles.

Read more from Kacy at Every Day I Write the Book.
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Article Posted 4 years Ago

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