When Jacob turned three (about a year ago), I started to realize just how little I know. I don’t mean how little I know about parenting. I mean how little I know about anything. Like any self-respecting three-year old, Jacob started asking questions. Incessantly.
“Mommy, how do they make fish food?”
“Do worms have teeth?”
“Does the lady that gets shot out of the cannon feel scared?”
“Why did my goldfish jump out of his bowl?”
“Why don’t some people think pink is a lovely color?”
A few days ago, after explaining to Jacob that we sometimes have to pull the car over when ambulances, fire trucks and police cars are behind us, he asked breathlessly: “Does the frozen lemonade truck get to go first too??”
Some questions I can handle without a problem. (No, Jacob, the lemonade truck is not considered an emergency vehicle. Although you do raise an interesting point . . .) But there is a healthy percentage that I’m sure I can answer . . . until I try to. Half way through my sentence, I have that clawing feeling in the pit of my stomach. As the words start tumbling out of my mouth, I realize that I probably zoned out during the crucial moment in my ninth grade biology class or high school physics.
“Mommy, what do squirrels eat?” I know this one. I must know this one. I grew up in a rural area. We nearly tripped over a squirrel every time we left the house. Acorns? Nuts? Seeds?
“Mommy, where do wolves live?” Woods? Forest? Near clusters of pigs with insufficient housing? My God, I’m pathetic. (Have I mentioned that my second major in college was BIOLOGY?)
While driving Jacob to get his hair cut a week ago:
“Mommy, who made the earth?”
“Well, honey, people didn’t make the earth. The earth was made by . . . by . . .”
Dang. Creationism? No. Big bang theory? That sounds right. But how to explain it to a four-year-old? Okay, fine. FINE. How to find someone who can explain it to me so that I can explain it to my four year old. (You happy now?) Think fast. He’s waiting for an answer. “Look honey! There’s a doggy by the side of the road!”
Problem solved. But after the dog was out of view . . .
“Who made the earth?”
And, a few nights ago, while putting Jacob to bed:
“Mommy, are macaques monkeys?”
“Yes, they are monkeys. Well, they are bigger than the typical monkey. Maybe they’re apes? Do they have long tails? If they don’t have long tails then they are probably apes. Which are animals that are like monkeys. But without the tail. I really don’t remember the tail situation on a macaque.”
I kissed Jacob goodnight and promptly left the room. Problem solved. A few minutes later, I heard a little voice from down the hall calling, “Daaaaaddy . . .”
I love that Jacob is so intellectually curious. And passionate about animals. And people. And everything. But knowing the culinary and lifestyle habits of every creepy, crawly, furry, flying thing is just beyond me.
And there was this one: “Mommy,who made me?”
Hmm. How about we talk more about what iguanas like to eat?