Kids ask the darnedest things
My kids think I’m a genius.
And that is definitely a big deal, coming from the toughest critics I know: my 5- and 7-year-old daughters.
Like most children their age, they are brutally honest and have NO FILTER.
When they don’t like something — such as my cooking — they let me know.
When their brother is due for a haircut, one of them will say, to his face, “Your hair is messy.”
And when they think their younger sister is “gross,” they tell her exactly that.
They didn’t exactly say “Mommy, you’re a genius,” but apparently they think I know everything. Why else would I get questions like these:
ABOUT RELIGIOUS STUFF
- Do Jesus and God wear underwear?
I don’t recall any biblical references to the Father and Son’s unmentionables. Fruit of the Loom has been around forever, but not THAT long. It took me a few seconds to come up with an answer, but I finally said, “Yes. Everybody wears underwear.” Plus, if I’d said “No,” they’d probably announce it at church, and we’d never live that down.
- If Jesus’ birthday is on Christmas, when is God’s birthday? What kind of presents does he get?
Good question, and one I can honestly say I’d never thought of. The best answer I could come up with was, “Every day is God’s birthday. When we’re good and do what he says – like listening to our parents – he likes those kinds of presents.” The 5-year-old, however, had her own theories: “No, he doesn’t like those presents. He likes candy, cakes, tea-party stuff, nail polish and Barbies.”
- Are there gonna be cars in heaven? How are we gonna get ours up there?
I told them I’d have to get back to them on that one, but they answered it on their own.
5-year-old: “You know we’re not gonna drive up there! We’re gonna fly up there on an airplane.”
7-year-old: “No, we’re not! We’re gonna go into a spaceship and go up and up and up.”
- Did we get Daddy from the Daddy store?
Wouldn’t it be great if it were that easy? I’d walk into Dads “R” Them, ask for help finding the “tall, dark and handsome” aisle, pay the cashier and be on my merry way. Instead, I told them how Mommy and Daddy first met, that we’d dated for a few years then gotten married. They seemed satisfied with that answer, but while looking through our wedding album, the girls wondered …
- When you got married, were we there?
They’d flipped through all the pictures of friends and family and noticed that their little faces were missing from the photos. My husband and I figured they were too young for “the talk,” so we just told them that they hadn’t been made yet. Surprisingly, they didn’t demand more details. However, they did ask …
- Do babies wear diapers in your belly?
Babies and diapers do go hand-in-hand, so that’s another legitimate question. But when I asked them how the diaper would get inside my belly and onto the baby’s bottom, they figured out the answer on their own. And because the girls had all been nursed, they obviously wanted to know …
- How does milk get in your body?
I could have gone all Bill-Nye-the-Science-Guy on ’em and given them a lecture about mammary glands. Instead, I relied on this simple standby: “That’s just the way our bodies are made.” I tried to use the same answer for the next question …
- Why can’t we sleep with our eyes open?
They, however, wanted a better explanation, which I found in Kathy Wollard’s book, How Come? In the Neighborhood. She answers similar questions in her Newsday column and her other “How Come” books, and she is a great friend to parents whose children are forever asking “Why?” and “How?” In this case, Wollard had the answer that I didn’t: “Having our eyes closed helps our bodies produce the hormones that cause us to sleep.”
- Why are there tornadoes? If we shoot a tornado, will we kill it? If we say “Rawwwr!” to a tornado, will it go away?
The 5-year-old is afraid of anything weather-related except snow. If it rains, or if the wind blows ever so slightly, she thinks a tornado isn’t far behind (We live Texas, the heart of Tornado Alley). While I don’t rightly know what purpose tornadoes serve, I did lovingly tell her that we couldn’t scare them away, although it would be pretty cool if we could.
- How come we see our breath in the wintertime?
I’d always wondered that, too. Wollard’s book helped me with this one, too. That mini cloud that you see in winter, she says, is the water that comes out with the carbon dioxide when you exhale. Your breath hangs for a moment in front of your face before it disperses into the air, Wollard says.
- Is Mrs. Claus allergic to oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies?
The 7-year-old had left a note for Santa, telling him to grab one cookie for himself and another for his wife. But she wanted to make sure Mrs. C. wasn’t allergic to the treats. She got her answer when Santa scribbled on the note: “Mmmm! Yummy cookies! Mrs. Claus will love them, too. P.S. She’s not allergic.”
- What number comes after infinity?
OK, math was not my best subject in school, but my answer of “infinity plus one” seemed to satisfy them until they asked what number came after that, and then what number came after that. So I stopped them with this: “Infinity times infinity is the biggest number in the world.”
- Are you still gonna be our mommy when we’re 70? When we’re 80?
For some reason, they think my parenting duties will end when they leave home. But I’ve guaranteed them that I’ll always be Mommy – till infinity and beyond.
Author: Felicia D. Pinkney, whom you can read more about here and here.