On the way to school this morning, my son asked, “Mommy, are there museums in Tennessee?” I know where he is going with this. We just spent a weekend in Washington D.C. and visited the Natural History Museum.
Me: “Yes, there are museums here. But I don’t know if they have dinosaur bones.”
L: “There were no dinosaurs in Tennessee?”
Me: “I don’t know if there were dinosaurs here. The dinosaurs lived a long time ago, and they were all over the world.”
L: “How did they get in the museum?”
Me: [thinking quickly] “Well, after the dinosaurs died—and that was a really, really long time ago—sand and water and ice came over the dinosaur bones and buried them. Smart explorers called Paleontologists knew a lot about the dinosaurs. And they knew where to go look for the bones. They used lots of special tools to dig the bones out, and then put them back together so we could see them in the museum.”
L: “How did the dinosaurs die?”
Me: [oh dear] “There are a few different theories, but most people think a big asteroid came from outer space and the dust that was kicked up from that blocked out the sun…” [Or was it the ice age? How did the dinosaurs die? How do I not know this??]
I know a LOT about a little – and a little about a LOT. But there are some conversations I just don’t know how to have!
Those conversations where I really just don’t know . . .
Ask me how the heart pumps blood or where poop comes from? I got this. But there are some things I do not know the answer to . . .
L: “How does an engine work?”
Me: “Um… gasoline and pistons?”
L: “How does the TV work?”
Me: “Something about lights…” [All my knowledge on this comes from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory…]
L: “Which Ninja Turtle is purple?”
Me: “I have absolutely no idea. Ask your dad.”
Those conversations where I DO know, but don’t want to discuss yet . . .
Yesterday my son told me the poster in his bathroom at school showed that you were supposed to wipe from behind.
Me: “Logan, you’re a boy, you can wipe however is easiest for you.” [I’m just grateful to no longer hear, “Can somebody wipe my booootyyyyyyyy?!” shouted from the upstairs bathroom.]
L: “Why do girls have to wipe different?”
Me: “Because girls don’t have [his word for male genitalia].” And, I know—we planned to use the proper names when discussing this stuff—but his word for it is just so stinkin’ cute.
L: [who has a baby sister and has watched hundreds of diaper changes] “Girls don’t have penits?!”
It’s not that I’m uncomfortable talking about body parts. It’s that I don’t want to be called in for a parent/teacher meeting because my child is quoting Kindergarten Cop.
Those conversations where I thought I knew, but some things just can’t be explained . . .
L: “Why do we have to go to church?”
Me: “To say ‘thank you’ to God for all the good things in our life…”
Me: “Because God loves us. He loves us so much that he let his son die to save us…”
L: “Save us from what?”
Me: “He died for our sins…” [Oh. My goodness. I really have no idea how to explain this! Please don’t ask me about dying… When can he start going to religion classes???]
And then there’s this doozy that my friend’s son posed:
T: “Why can’t we see God in Space?”
I would have no idea what to say to that.
And then there are those conversations that just sound ridiculous once you start to explain . . .
Me: “It’s Saint Patrick’s Day – so today we wear green!”
L: “What is Saint Patrick’s Day?”
Me: [not expecting this question] “Um, well it’s a celebration of Irish heritage…”
L: “Are we Irish?”
Me: “No . . . well, a little on your Dad’s side . . .”
L: “Who is Saint Patrick?”
Me: [wracking my brain for any tidbit I remember about Saint Patrick] “Do you like snakes?”
L: “No, snakes are scary!”
Me: “Well, Saint Patrick went to Ireland and made all the snakes go away.”
L: “How did he do that?”
Me: [how did he do that? A pipe? No, that was the pied piper…] “He got all the snakes out of Ireland, and now we wear green and eat corned beef and cabbage on March 17th.”
Conversations with my son are enlightening, entertaining—and humbling.
Thank goodness for “Google” and his National Geographic books. (You can learn a lot from those suckers!) Because college really didn’t prepare me for my four-year old.
Back to the dinosaurs . . .
L: “So now they’re extinct?”
Me: “Yes.” [when did he learn the word extinct?]
L: “Are we going to be extinct?”
Me: “I hope not.”
L: “That’s why we need to go to outer space and find a new planet?”
Me: “You’ve been talking with your dad about this haven’t you.”