05 January, 2012

Googolplex and the Little Nutbrown Hare

goo·gol·plex [goo-gawl-pleks, -gol-, -guhl-]
a number that is equal to 1 followed by a googol of zeros.


goo·gol [goo-gawl, -gol, -guhl] 
a number that is equal to 1 followed by 100 zeros and expressed as 10 100 .
~www.dictionary.com

10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
~www.googolplex.com
________________________

How high can you count? 100? 1,000? 1,000,000? 10 to the power of 100?

My son and I have had a bedtime ritual that goes back, to well since he was old enough to talk. (Which isn't so far, he is only 5 - but it sure seems like a long time). It's a take on the book "Guess How Much I Love You" by Sam McBratney.

At lot of you probably know it ... Little Nutbrown Hare tells Big Nutbrown Hare that he loves Big Nutbrown Hair as wide as his arms reach. Big Nutbrown Hare replies, with much bigger arms, that he loves Little Nutbrown Hare as wide as his arms reach. Little Nutbrown Hare replies that he loves Big Nutbrown Hair as high as he can jump. Which Big Nutbrown Hare replies, with much more height in his jump, that he loves Little Nutbrown Hare as high as he can jump. You get the picture.

The one that always gets me is the last one - I love you to the moon/ I love you to the moon and back.

That is what we have been saying every night since my Little Nutbrown Hare could talk. Once he could talk and start to figure out that some things were bigger than others - well it got interesting. I love you to the moon and back two times. And it grew as his information grew: I love you to the moon and around all the planets and back.

Then one day, my five-year-old came home saying: I love you to the moon and back googolplex times.

How cute, I thought. He and his friends at school are making up numbers bigger than they could imagine. You know, like bazillian-gadzillian. What great imaginations - and with math in the equation, too. He described it as the biggest number there ever was; nothing beats googolplex.

 Well, that last statement might not be technically correct, but these five-year-olds are correct. Somehow in their normal play-learning, they have come across, understand and use a term that (I believe) most adults don't even know about. At least not the ones that I polled.

So when he tells me tonight "I love you to the moon and back googolplex." I know it means something. And even if it wasn't a real term, it still would mean the biggest amount of love that goes on forever that my little man can think of.

And that makes me happy.