"Mom?" Gertrude called, running into the living room where I was picking up cups of water abandoned by the kids and dog toys that really hurt when you stub your toe on them.
Gert had an urgent question: "What number comes after eleven?"
"Twelve,” I said. “Eleven, then twelve."
I hoped she was practicing the elusive counting-to-twenty, which always trips her up because she's convinced "fifty-eleventeen" has to figure in there somewhere. But no, she had something more concrete to worry about.
"So Matilda's going to be TWELVE?"
"That's right. On her next birthday."
"She's a lot older than me."
"Well, sort of."
"Great," said Gert, throwing up her hands. "She's going to die before me. Everybody's going to die before me!"
I sputtered something incoherent as Gert turned and ran back out of the room, presumably to get in some playtime with her sister who only had a few decades left to live.