As anyone who has raised children can tell you, it’s a humbling experience. Without kids you can easily travel through your polite adult life feeling competent and capable.

It’s a sham.

We arrange our environments carefully to delude ourselves into thinking we know a lot. We choose friends with similar interests who will only talk to us about things we know about. We get jobs that match our backgrounds so we can talk the talk that makes us look smart. And we can skillfully surf the web all the livelong day without the slightest fear that someone we meet there will ask us how something one types on a computer in Sheboygan can simultaneously appear in Sacramento, Fort Lauderdale, and Katmandu.

Children, however, do not hesitate to point out just how little we know. At least mine don’t.

My four-year-old is especially good at this. The answer she gets from me most often: “That’s just the way it IS.” To make matters worse, Little Bit tends to be cranky and demanding in her childish, center-of-the-universe way, and therefore believes that not only should I be able to explain the mysteries and inconveniences of the world, I should fix them too.

“Mommy,” she complained recently, “the sun is shining in my eyes!”
“Put your sunglasses on, sweetie.”
“I don’t like wearing my sunglasses! Why does the sun always shine in people’s eyes when they don’t like that?”

Tigger, who is hovering on the brink of eight, asks more sophisticated but similarly unanswerable questions. Today she perused the cover of Newsweek, which features a crucified Jesus.

“Mommy,” she wondered, “what does Jesus have to do with Christ? Isn’t Jesus a Jewish thing?”
“Ummm, he started out that way…”

It got worse. I swear this is an exact quote.

“Mommy, I would give anything to know this: why, by what logic, do people believe that Jesus was the son of god? He was just some guy. Where’s the logic?”

Where indeed?

When we drive someplace in the minivan, Tigger sits in the way back and reads. Occasionally she glances up and shouts questions to me in the chauffeur’s seat.

Yesterday’s book: The Princess Diaries
Yesterday’s question: “Mommy, what does it mean to be ‘felt up?’”

At least I knew the answer.


32 thoughts on “

  1. “Mommy, I would give anything to know this: why, by what logic, do people believe that Jesus was the son of god? He was just some guy. Where’s the logic?”
    Perfect opportunity to explain the concept of faith

  2. Hilarious. . .and so true that they point out the mysteries of the universe.  In so many words, my 6 yr old asked me to explain the ‘problem of evil’ the other day.–Little future philosopher.  I have scribbled down several of the hum-dingers he’s been asking lately, so I can blog about it eventually.

  3. Oh, Lordy!  Do I remember those days!  I think the only time I ever got one over on my two boys was when I had them convinced I had “eyes in the back of my head”….  It worked for some time until, one day after an exhausting hike in our local woods to look for tigers (don’t ask) I fell asleep next to them at nap time…. next thing I remember there are two sets of little hands, moving my hair away from the back of my head to see where the eyes were hidden!

  4. Ha! Good stuff.My daughter reminded me that she has a “four year old brain and that is why it is hard for me sometimes”.I actually had to sit down and ponder that.Facinating.

  5. My mother has an antique framed cross stitch hanging in the kitchen that says:
    “May I be half as wonderful as my toddler thinks I am and only half as stupid as my teenager tells me I am.”
    Having a 14 & 16 year old girl and boy always keep me grounded in reality (least I forget)and almost always broke…:-}  PS:  Good idea about the BBQ, will let you know when pool is in!

  6. Children absolutely have the knack for putting us in our place, and yours sound exceptionally bright.  It must be fun to constantly handle their questions!
    I really need to start writing down some of things that mine say.  I always forget five minutes later unless I’m able to convey it to someone else immediately, therefore getting entrenched in my memory deeply enough to take hold.  Sometimes they’re a doozy.  One that I do remember (only because I was at my blog when it happened and I immediately wrote a post about it) was when my then three year old came running out of the bathroom after having asked his daddy if mommy was fat.  Okay, this was one that I also knew the answer to.  He comes to me and says, “Mommy, are you fat?”  I said, “Uhh, yeah,why?”  His response:  “That’s why your boobies are so big.”  Not exactly thought-provoking (understatement), but great for a laugh.
    Children; gotta love what they do for your sanity! 

  7. Hey!!
    Just stopping by super quick!! Thanks for sharing that post!!   Hope you and yours have a great Easter!!

  8. Yeah, thanks for the laugh, and reminding me why NOT having kids was such a good idea. I’m curious as to how you answered that question about being felt up. Well, not really. I just wanted to make you cringe again.

  9. OMG! Whatever you do don’t let them watch that National Geographic show about that tribe that wears the penis gourds!
    Watch out for those nature shows too! Like the one about lions where they show what happens when a new male takes over a pride and kills the cubs. Holy cow, I never saw that one coming one day when the kiddos were watching the Discovery Channel. THAT led to a zillion questions—“Mommy, why did that daddy lion eat the babies?”  

  10. Even the QUESTIONS of our little ones will make us learn and grow…because we have to find out for them!  LOL! 
    I’d love to hear how you answered the felt up question!!!!!!!

  11. Priceless stuff!  Art Linkletter was so right.  (Can’t remember if you’re as old as I am — i.e., old enough to remember that Linkletter wrote a book called “Kids Say the Darndest Things.”)

  12. Ohhh…I do hope you took that opportunity to explain to her why we KNOW Jesus is the son of God~!! She sounds very smart for her age, I think that would have been the PERFECT time to explain it to her! Unless I’m missing sg here-and she was joking. To me, it didn’t sound like a joke, though. So hope you hopped right on that one!
    And…I loved satsoul’s comment about her boys!! Loved most of the comments!
    I don’t remember my son ever coming up with anything quite like that, though. By the time he was that age, he already knew all about faith. Like my mother before me, I was one to pound religion into his brain!! Or try! I guess it worked, he’s saved, a Christian and he is now pounding it into his daughter’s head. I use the word *pound* lightly, you know! ((-:  I am SURE that came from my own experiences as a child with my mom bringing me up as she did!
    But I’m sure I could think up some good ones he pulled otherwise, though, if I tried. Yours made me laugh but still-perfect timing to explain it all-!! I know you surely don’t want her thinking Jesus was just *some guy*~!!

  13. Wow, you have some smart kids! That says a lot for the parents too. I had a similar experience teaching, kids were asking me about aliens and meteors hitting earth, etc and I just kindda stared at them, it was bad.

  14. I know EXACTLY how your daughter feels. I did fine with the Christmas story…son of God and all that…but here’s where the logic broke down with me: he was the son of God, so God killed him, by letting man nail him up on the cross, and so that’s why everyone else’s sins are forgiven. WHAT???? I’m thirty-five now, and capable of following complicated logical arguments, capable of reading arcane theological texts, capable of staying awake for entire sermons…but…I…still…don’t…get…it.

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