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Monday, July 18, 2011

Getting older has it's hazards ...

Harvey came to visit last week.

During the day when the children were all talking about how old they were, Harvey turned to me and said, 'Danella, how old are you?'

I replied, 'Have a guess Harvey.'

He looked me up and down and deeply considered for a moment and then announced with a sense of recognition and sastisfaction, '40.'

'No Harvey, more than 40.'


'No, it's more than 42.'


I shook my head ...

'Hmm .. mm 44?' enjoying the challenge and doing really well with numbers.

'Not even 44 Harvey, I'm older than that.  You need a bigger number.'

I was partly curious and fascinated to see what Harvey's number concept was.  Young children often draw on what they know in proportion to life when it comes to number sense.  So when things are big or old, they say the biggest number they know or have heard of to share their recognition of the proportion of difference.  Sort of like, 'I know you are way bigger and a lot older than me, so I will give you the biggest number I know of.'  When he first announced '40', it was with a real sense of satisfaction of having really considered with what he knows.  He knows how old his parents are and had that to gauage and sum me up against (by the way Anna and Dominic, I know I look older than 40 and older than both of you!).  I was wondering where our little guess would take us ... 

The bigger number Harvey came up with was, '80?'

'That's a way bigger number Harvey, good on you, it's too big for me though.  I'm not 80. Do you know something smaller.'

'60?'  Harvey was revelling in this by now.

'No, 60 is too big for how old I am.'  Harvey looked a bit daunted.  'If you go back to 44 and try to go on from there Harvey you'll be able to guess.  You are doing so well.'

Harvey went from his considered guess with what he knows about life, in sequence to a point where he knew he had to draw on something else, reached for a big number, was able to go back to something smaller and not give up when he was daunted and still not with the answer.   All this was in relation to wanting to know something about me ... the depth of his interest was really touching.

... back we went, '44 hmm..mm.. 45?'

'No, closer though.'



Then what felt like an intuitive leap, '50?!'

'Yes Harvey, you got it! I'm 50.' 

Harvey made this noise that is sort of like, 'Golly, god and whoa' in one and repeated, '50' with his eyes first spinning back and then almost popping out of their sockets at the same time, '50! 50!'

I had no idea that if and when we got there, '50' would have quite that effect on Harvey.

I was fascinated and curious.

In the next instant, Harvey composed himself, looked straight into my eyes and said with an increduous voice, 'That means when you do something your mum doesn't like you have to go to your room for 50 minutes! Whoa ... that's a lot ... and ... when you have your birthday it will get to be 51!'

I cracked up, especially at the thought of my 80 year old mother sending me to my room for 50 minutes.

I asked, 'Do you sometimes have to do that at home Harv?'

'Yeah! for 5 minutes because, I'm 5 and it gets more when you get bigger!' 

I had know idea this is where we were headed and could hear that getting older with this awareness is quite the conundrum of sorts for Harvey.

... and there you have it thanks to Harvey, number in relation and proportion to what you know about life rather than as a linear concept.  

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