The Washington Post

Editor’s Query: Tell us about a time when you realized age was just a number

My very active mom has an instant rapport with children of all ages. She knows exactly how to relate to them on their developmental level, whatever that may be.

Even in her 80s, she will still sit on the floor and play whatever creative game a child can imagine. My dad is equally spry.

When my daughter was about 4, she was trying hard to figure out the difference between children and adults. She didn’t seem to get the definitions of “younger” and “older.”

To help her understand, I tried using our extended family as examples: cousins, aunts and uncles, family friends and grandparents. I wanted her to figure it out for herself, so instead of telling her who was an adult and who was a child, I asked her questions.

“What do you think cousin Sara is?” She considered. “A teenager.”

“Right! And Aunt Nancy?” More confidently, “A grown-up.”

“Yes. How about your cousin Ronnie?” She quickly answered, “A kid.”

“Correct. What about me?” Immediately, “A grown-up.”

Now she was really getting the hang of it.

Then I asked, “How about Grandmom?” After a long, considering pause, she hesitantly responded, “A ... teenager?”

Amy Alapati,


NEW QUERY: Tell us about a time when you had an ad­ven­ture in babysitting.

The Washington Post is partnering with the Public Insight Network (PIN) to hear more of your 100 percent true stories taken from your own experience. Submit your answer to the query above online at­query. By sharing your story, you become part of PIN — a network of more than 130,000 people who contribute to high-quality journalism. Editors will choose an entry to run in the Magazine, but we will also share more of your stories online. You can also submit to The Washington Post Magazine, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Include your daytime phone number. Recount your story in 250 words or fewer.

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