“You dirt, mama. I mountain. Da girls a river.”
Okay, little dude, but what’s daddy?
“A bridge.” –the 2 year old philosopher.
I’ve been thinking about the meaning of this all morning.
Conversations with and among the kids
“All great change in America begins at the dinner table.” -Ronald Reagan.
We were at the table talking about food and how delicious the zucchini sitting on our plates smelled, when my 4 year old announced with all the force of an Executive Order that she would, from this day forward, only eat foods that were white (sugar, bread, ice cream, the inside of chicken nuggets after the brown is scraped off and mozzarella cheese) and sometimes red (strawberries, watermelon, ketchup and pizza sauce).
The 6 year old told her she should have one more color, to make it look more like the flag. Blue! Blue would be good, so she should add blueberries to her diet. The 4 year old agreed with her big sister, “Yes, so my plate looks just like the French flag.” Here’s how the rest of that convo went:
6: “I meant the American flag.”
4: “Oh, okay. [Good-natured, chuckle.] Good thing they are both red, white and blue.”
6: “Hmm. That’s strange. [Picks up fork, then puts it down.] Wait a minute! The England flag is red, white and blue too.”
4: [Hasn’t touched her fork in 15 minutes.] “I know why they all use the same colors. It’s because they only had those colors back then.”
6: “I think you’re right. In olden times they only had primary colors and didn’t know how to mix them yet.”
4: “Yup. [Finally chewing…something white.] Wait. Then how come the dinosaurs were so many different colors?”
6: “That’s easy. Because they were extinct before there were people and when they were dead their bones were just white, so the people didn’t get to learn from the dinosaurs that there were so many different colors.”
4: [Pushes forkful of zucchini I’m holding away from her face.] “That’s too bad. People could have learned a lot from dinosaurs.”
Me: “Yes, they could have learned to eat green things.”
4: “Don’t be silly, mama. And, I don’t need green to eat vegetables. I like ketchup.”
Me: “Reagan isn’t the President anymore to the great sorrow of many, including, apparently, you Miss Sassy. [Confused stares looking back at me, so I change direction.] Well look at that. While we were busy discussing flag colors and extinction, your little brother ate all his zucchini.”
4: “That’s because he’s too little to know what tastes good.”
6: “Hey! I like zucchini too!” [Fork dropped. Hands on hips.]
4: “Well, you’re too BIG to know what tastes good!”
6: [Hands still on hips, chest now puffed out.] “I’m big enough to know that you can’t just eat primary colors and survive. You need to eat all the colors…ALL of them!”
4: [Rolls eyes and sighs audibly.] “You sound like a dinosaur.”
We have lots of great change to anticipate in America, if for no other reason than dinner takes roughly 3 hours in our house every night.
We had a chat about spirit animals, and the internet is not my friend.
I have no idea what it was like to answer kids’ questions before the internet. I’m sure my parents just made things up, just as I do sometimes. Mostly I answer the best I can and when I don’t know the answer, and there’s wifi available, we all huddle together around a screen and look together. Of course, I find the right website first, before the screen is turned to the wider audience. [This is a lesson I learned with Peanut when she was 4 and we were debating whether dinosaurs breathed fire. She agreed that, yes, dragons had fire breath, but refused to concede that dinosaurs did not. For 10 minutes we talked about the difference between mythical and extinct creatures, until she told me, “I got that, Mom. But dinosaurs breathed fire too!” So, I went to the videotape…or rather internet. I googled dinosaurs and fire, clicked the first result and, lo and behold, there was a creationist educational site that showed a dinosaur and dragon in a fire fight, both shooting flames from their snouts with some exceptional 90s-style CGI. The website explained that all those plants the dinos ate created methane gas that was ignited by electric eel-like sparks in mouths…or something like that. Peanut 1, Mom 0. Now, I find the site first then share.]
Peanut: Mommy, what are the rules again?
Me: Listen to the coach and don’t use your hands.
A 6 year old at bedtime.
Wait. I have one more question. I don’t understand what happened to the Ancient Egyptians. They had everything so together. They had gold and pyramids. They had food and lots of beaches to play on.
Mom interjection (“MI”): Well, sand. They had lots of sand.
They were beautiful and now they are gone.
MI: Goodnight, sweet pea.