Here is a mystery. Why do people, moms in particular, always refer to small children's ages in months instead of years (once there's at least a year to count)? They are always saying their child is 18 or 23 months old instead of the much simpler "year and a half" or "practically two," whatever. I mean, isn't that why we have the unit of the year? And whenever possible, don't we always use the unit of the Mile instead of the Foot, and the Dollar instead of the Dime, and the Gallon instead of the Pint?
To me it is like an improper fraction, plain and simple. In the arithmetic lessons I was always so bad at, I was always taught to simplify the fractions as much as possible...and I was pretty freaking good at simplifying fractions. I was a fraction-simplifying MONSTER. Writing 10/3 is wrong...everyone is taught to write 3 1/3 instead.
Even small children, when they have learned to count, choose the unit of years whenever possible. I remember telling people that my baby siblings were "zero" prior to their first birthday, and that was before I ever knew about fractions. Kids know. Anyone who has had the same number of birthdays is THE EXACT SAME AGE AS YOU. If they turned 7 before you did, then for a period of time they were older, then you caught up once you had your birthday, and you were equals once again. Makes sense to me.
Whenever someone tells me that their child is X number of months old, I am momentarily stunned to silence as I simplify the fraction in my mind. If we have had this interaction personally, I hope I did not seem rude or shocked for some reason to hear that your child was X months old. It's just that, when presented with an improper fraction such as that, I have to convert it before it can make sense to me. Another apology: on my end, instead of saying that I am nearly 25 years old, perhaps I should have converted it to YOUR time-unit of choice...which would make me 299 months old. Hope that helps.
The only reason I can imagine for this phenomenon is that at such a young age, babies and toddlers have so many packed-together landmarks and proper-development milestones that it is best to be as precise as possible. I guess if you are talking to a pediatrician or a child therapist, it is good to use months (if this theory of mine is true). But why do you say it when talking to normal people? And people who aren't moms? And don't kids all develop in different ways, along their own unique timelines?
If that is all true, then the "nineteen month" thing also contains a sly reference (wasted on me, of course) meant to draw attention to the fact that the child at hand is perhaps sagely beyond his months in emotional development, cognitive skills, or hand-to-mouth coordination. Do all moms understand these cleverly disguised cues? Maybe one day I will be a part of this elite world where nobody cares about improper fractions, and then maybe I'll refer to MY kid in weeks or minutes just to throw everyone off and make THEM do a little math, quick, in their minds. Then we'll see who can simplify the fractions around here.
No, but really...someone please enlighten me.