i used to tell them how old i was. every year on my birthday i would ask each one how old they thought i was, and then we would see who was the closest. the guesses always ranged from 16 to 25, with a couple of 42s mixed in. i would make a list of their answers, and then tell them how old i was, and we would laugh at all their guesses...
and then i hit a certain number and decided maybe they didn't need to know that i was now old enough to be their grandma--even if just barely. so i stopped telling them. if they asked my age, i would just say, "how old do you think i am?" and although there were a few close calls, they never guessed right.
but this year has been a little different. for some reason, this particular group of kids is obsessed with my age. they have asked me repeatedly, tried to trick me into telling them, and accused me of not being able to remember. it has been a lot of fun.
and then today, while i was serving their snack, a little boy looked at me and said, "why are you so old?"
ok, this was a different approach. i could see i needed a different sort of answer. so i said, "because i'm not dead yet."
that silenced him... but only for a minute.
"you mean you die when you get old?!?!" he said. uh oh. since small children tend to think anyone who can drive is old, now i was worried that he was going to be worried about everyone in his life dying. i had to fix it. "well," i said, "our bodies work really hard all the time. so when we get really, really, REALLY old, our bodies just get worn out, and then we die." "oh," he said. and then, "so how old are you?!"
and there it was...
i answered as i now always do, with, "it's a secret." and that is their cue to begin guessing. the first few times this happens, they guess 16, 20, maybe even 27. eventually they start talking about how old their parents are, and let me just tell you, some of their parents are OLD. when i first started teaching, it seemed as though the parents of my four and five year olds were mostly 27, 28, 32... but now i am hearing numbers like 37, 38, 45! even though the kids are still four and five!
but today, those kids were bringing their "a" game. "are you 100?" "NO! i am NOT 100!!" i said. "i'm not that old!" "well then how old are you?" they just were not giving up. "85? 90?" i just laughed and shook my head. and then, "105???"
105? really? i mean, even for five year olds, 105?!?!?!
clearly clairol and i need some alone time...