The other side of things

Lately Jacob has been very interested in counting, and in determining which numbers are bigger than others, and in “how many numbers are in each number” (two numbers to make ten, three to make one hundred, etc). He is also thinking a lot about which numbers are ‘next to’ each other. It is becoming quite existential, or astronomical, or metaphysical, or – well, see for yourself:

Jacob says, “Five and three are next to four. Three and one are next to two. What numbers are next to one?”

I say, “Two and zero.”

“And what is on the other side of zero? Maybe stars.”


“Or something like that. Because zero is the same as nothing.”

At which point, I did not know what to say. But I skipped drawing a number line – for the time being, I think stars must be a  better answer than negatives.