A character or pair of characters are seen with a kid and are asked if the child is theirs, even if, due to age, there's no way it could be.
Sometimes used as a way of showing that the "parents" are a compatible couple, but more often just for laughs. If the person in question is too old
to be the parent, it may imply a compliment (even flirtation, if the person asking is of similar age).
Truth in Television
, especially amongst siblings with a significant age difference.
May be combined with She Is Not My Girlfriend
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Anime and Manga
- In ElfQuest: Siege at Blue Mountain, Cutter pays a visit to the human couple Nonna and Adar and assumes that the three children living with them are theirs even though they are too old. His misunderstanding is due to the elves' low birth rate, and their general ignorance of human gestation periods and growth rates.
- In The Smurfs story "The Baby Smurf", the Smurfs are all wondering whose child that Baby Smurf is, and Brainy has the audacity to suggest that the child could be Smurfette's, which she rewards with throwing objects at Brainy.
- DC Nation: Troia was asked several times if Lian was "hers." Because of her Truth Sense, she would have to answer "no," but Lian would cheerfully answer "Yup!" Part because Lian cannot stand her super-villainess mother, and part because Donna's been "Mom...in all the ways that count!" They met half-way; Donna is now Lian's stepmother.
- William Laurence gets subjected to an age-appropriate variant twice concerning the same child over the course of the Temeraire books.
- In Empire of Ivory when he, Temeraire, several uniformed crewmen, and a twelve-year-old girl attended an Aerial Corps fundraiser. His father Lord Allendale, after the latter cheerfully admitted to Laurence and Temeraire personally tutoring her; cornered his son and quietly made diffident, embarrassed, and evasive inquiries as to the health of the young girl's mother. To deny the unspoken accusation would have made Laurence look even worse, he could not reveal her true status in public, and his attempt at a bare bones/true-as-far-as-it-went explanation ("She is the natural daughter of... a gentlewoman living in Dover, whose education I have taken as my charge") did nothing to allay suspicionnote .
- In Blood of Tyrants, after losing his memory and being (re)introduced to his crew (including 16 year old Midwingman Roland), Lawrence tries to piece together what he can of the the last eight years through the correspondence in his cabin and finds A) a letter from his mother mentioning a gift sent to one 'Miss Emily Roland'; B) a decidedly casual and friendly note from an Admiral Jane Roland; and C) records of him paying a hired chaperone for the younger Roland out of his own pocket. His first reaction is to consider how many holes there may be in the parts of his memory he thought he retained.
- Occurs in several P. G. Wodehouse stories.
- More or less inverted in Twilight: the Cullen parents always present the teen vampires as their adopted children, because the ages wouldn't fit. Then Bella and Edward pretend they adopted Renesmee, because even assuming Bella and Edward had a shotgun wedding, it's impossible that Nessie to be born so soon when the pregnancy was not visible at the wedding.
- Not to mention the fact that Edward wasn't even in the area during the time she should have theoretically been conceived.
- In Fifth Chinese Daughter, the narrator's little brother is often mistaken for her son, since she's about twenty years older than he is.
Live Action TV
- Lucy from 7th Heaven took the twins out for a stroll and was mistaken for their mother, which opened her eyes to the plight of single mothers.
- Buffy was mistaken for Dawn's mother in the first episode of the seventh season of Buffy, "Lessons".
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Pearl tags along with Phoenix and Maya, but whenever Maya is not present, some of the NPCs believe Pearl is Phoenix's daughter. On the other hand, it works entirely backwards in Apollo Justice with Trucy, who says Phoenix is her father despite her being in her early teens and Phoenix having no children seven years before. It takes a while till we realize she's adopted.
- In The Walking Dead, Lee gets this in regards to the girl he's protecting, Clementine, a lot. It helps that he's a 30-something black man and she's a 10-year old Ambiguously Brown girl.
- Ménage à 3: In these strips, Sandra manages to mistake the petite Zii for the daughter of the Amazonian DiDi. Zii enjoys the mistake.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender : Sokka (15) and Katara (14) (who are actually brother and sister) pose as Aang's (12, or 112) parents when he enrolls in a Fire Nation school because he wants to be normal for a little bit and find out some things about the Fire Nation. They pull it off! All Sokka had was a fake beard/mustache and Katara just stuffed her shirt to make it looked like she was pregnant (or fat).
- Fridge Brilliance: In a world where the average marriage age seems to be about 16, its a bit easier to accept that the school might not find Katara and Sokka's youth too unbelievable. Now, the fact that both of Aang's 'parents' seem to have a significantly darker skin tone then him on the other hand...
- In Family Guy, Meg gets mistaken for her brother Stewie's mother, and then goes along with it to get a job and tips.
- And then Promptly gets Stewie taken away by Child Services when she fabricates hardships to increase her tips.
- Stewie initially protests being used this way but changes his mind after the diner's fry cook gives him some pancakes. Stewie develops a bit of an addiction for them.