Life Begins at... Three!
I was preparing lunch in the kitchen as the children played in the next room. Construction noises wafted in from the street, obscuring the beginnings of this conversation between George and Thomas, so we will join it at the moment I became aware of it. The requisite background for the story: Mary is 40-something, Emma, her daughter, is eleven, George is three, Thomas almost three, Zach just turned two, and Alice is not quite a year and a half old. "Everyone is a adult: Mary is a adult, Emma is a adult, George is a adult." Thomas is most insistant. "I am an adult?" George is a bit surprised, but open to the idea. "Yes, everyone is a adult." "But not Zach." They turn to look at Zach, happily driving small cars along the hallway wall. Alice watches him with interest. "No, not Zach, or Alice, either." They agree to this with great solidarity. This causes George to consider the heirarchy, however. He is three already, whereas Thomas won't be three until August. "And not you, either, Thomas." "Yes, I am a adult." Thomas isn't defensive here, just stating a known fact. "No, you're not." It seems to cause George some regret to have to disappoint Thomas with this sad truth. He pauses, thinking, and his face brightens. "Unless: did you have your birthday?" So there you have it: adulthood begins at three.