My son, Zach, is five. He absolutely loves numbers and seems to have great intuition about them. Just five, he can do single-digit addition and subtraction without any problem, and can do most double-digit addition problems. He understands multiplication, although hasn’t memorized his multiplication table yet. Amazingly, he understands negative numbers, even. And, he understands “infinity.” “It’s the biggest number, ever,” he says.
Unifying his math knowledge with an unbelievably big heart, “I love you infinity,” he’ll often say. Besides all the standard warmth I get as a parent hearing my child saying that he loves me, as a math geek myself, I get a lighthearted chuckle out of this.
He understands that infinity plus anything is still infinity – at least as much as any of us understands that peculiar mathematical fact. But, just to be cute and to stress just how much he loves me, he’ll often say, “I love you infinity plus infinity plus infinity plus infinity”, “I love you infinity plus nine” or more recently just “I love you infinity plus one.” Talk about cute.
My daughter, Sarah, is 3 ½. She hears us teach Zach, including this whole infinity thing. Just yesterday, she melts me by saying, “I love you infinity one.” Talk about cute, cute, cute. She just said it again this morning to our nanny, Carla, who laughed hysterically.
Zach and Sarah, I wish I could add something to infinity to make it bigger so I could properly express the love I feel for you and the joy you give me. Maybe they’ll invent “new new math” where this’ll be possible. Until then, I love you both Infinity One, too.