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On being ‘almost’ this age or that age

Whenever I go to events on behalf of the newspaper and take photos of families with their children, I usually ask how old the kids are.

I’m bad at guessing these things, so I need to ask, being a generally curious kind of person.

Sometimes the kids will volunteer the information with their fingers, if not the verbal acknowledgment.

Or sometimes both with a proud air about them.

I love when a little kid gives me an animated “I’m three-eeeee!!!!” and holds up three fingers for emphasis.

My usual response to finding out what that magic number is?

“Wow — that’s a great age to be,” I’ll offer, because being 3 or 5 or 8, those are all chapters of life that can be pretty cool in one way or another.

But I’m always amused when  a parent or grandparent offers me the age information, kind of as a follow-up to what the child has told me.

It’s rarely just the acutal number all by its itty bitty self, though.

Instead, it’s the “almost” number.

It’s “he’s almost 4.”

Or “she’s 6 and a half.”

Or “he’s 5 but his birthday is two weeks from tomorrow.”

Or “she’s just shy of 7.”

And then there’s “he’s 23 months old” — not 2 or 2 going on 3.

I get the reason behind all that, as a mother myself who used to do the same thing when people asked how old my son or daughter were, but the amusement factor comes into play when I consider how adults don’t follow suit when it comes to offering information on how old they are.

I don’t know any adults who add to their age and say they’re “40 and a half.”

Or “almost 80.”

Sometimes an adult doesn’t even offer a number at all.

Sometimes, it’s a comment, including “none of your beeswax.”

Or how about “old enough to know better.”

Or “older and wiser.”

Or “ready to retire.”

Or in some cases, like the dog comment, “Not too old to learn some new tricks.”

And never have I had adults tell me they’re something like 744 months old, which sounds like you’d need some industrial strength Oil of Olay.

In that case, 62 sounds a whole lot better.

Sometimes an age-being-asked adult counters with a question: “How old do you think I am?”

As I mentioned, I’m not good at guessing.

As for me, I don’t have a problem with just saying my age straight out.

People tell me I look a lot younger than I really am, which is 58 and a half or almost 59 or still in my 50s.

Either way, I say that must be the up side of being immature.

(Kiaski, a resident of Richmond, is a staff columnist and features writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at jkiaski@heraldstaronline.com.)

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