"Jidai ha kawatta!"
Times have changed!
The Three Beautiful Sisters are our neighbor's three beautiful granddaughters. They live in the next town, so they are here whenever their parents decide they need reliable babysitters. They are 10, 7 and 3 years old and all child starlet beautiful, but child molesters beware, the two oldest take karate lessons. Other than their beauty and karate, they are your typical happy, friendly, healthy, destructive little children. The Pumpkin Princess considers them favored subjects, and cries when she sees them playing outside from the window until I take her out to join them.
So today, the Three Beautiful Sisters were playing jump rope with the cord their grandmother uses to tie things to her bicycle rack. The Pumpkin Princess cried so I took her outside, and soon the five of us were playing jump rope singing "teddy bear teddy bear, turn around" or rather "kuma-san kuma-san maware migi" and turning cartwheels on the front lawn of the Pumpkin Palace. Or rather, the two oldest were playing kuma-san kuma-san and turning cartwheeles while the youngest and the Pumpkin Princess watched.
The 10 year old beauty asked me what my name was and I told her Ayako. Next thing I know, she's calling me Ayako-chan. "Don't you call your friends' parents obachan?" Obachan means auntie. It's what I called my parents' friends and my friends' parents.
"No. We usually call them 'so-and-so's mom' or by their names."
"No, because they're not. Obachan is older people."
Perhaps this is where I start rambling about the obsession with youth and how the current generation not only refuses to grow up but also decides that accepting normal healthy aging is a bad thing, but I'll just take it a sign that times have changed and consider myself lucky that I have a good source of current information.