My daughter does her best chatting in the car. I liken it to Chinese water torture. She has a Random Thought Generator that just cannot be turned off. Just when you get a good groove going in your head with a good idea for a blog or remember to add something to the ongoing Target list, she will break in with a “Hey Mommy . . .” and there goes whatever train of thought you were riding. She will do this mid-song, mid-conversation, even mid-word. She honestly can’t help herself. During extended car rides, I give her an iPod to keep her quiet, but on the short to and fro’s of daily life, I have been known to start twitching when the Hey Mommy’s start getting out of hand.
The problem is that now she is in Catholic school, the Hey Mommy’s don’t just include the usual assortment of dinner menus, play date requests, schedule questions, and random puffery, but now they tend to be philosophical. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time coming up with a short but sturdy answer to the meaning of life between stop lights.
For example, the other night, I was asked, “Who is God’s mother?” She had me there. In my daughter’s world, mommies make and do everything, and so even though God made the world, somebody still is supposed to have made God. I did the only sensible thing and told her to ask her teacher. She persisted. So, in the time honored tradition of parents everywhere, I deflected. “Well, Jesus has a mother. Mary is his mom.” Then I prayed like hell that we didn’t delve any deeper into the paternity of Jesus, because trying to explain that Joseph was really more like a stepfather was just beyond me.
Then, out of the blue, again in the car a few days later was, “How does God put the baby in your belly?” Now I realize she is old enough for the birds and the bees. We use real vocabulary words for our body parts here, mostly because once I had one of each gender, just calling them “privates” got sort of stupid. In fairness, the boy persists in calling his a “peanut” due to an early aural misunderstanding, but she’s clear on the fact that she’s got a vagina and he’s got a penis and the twain shall not meet. Do I get medical and explain how Part A goes in Slot B allowing the little swimmers to aim for the target and get the hole in one that makes a baby? (Yes, that is the official AMA version.) Or do I go political and make a statement about marriage and how two people who love each other, of any sex, should be able to raise a family? Fearing that the look in my eye meant that I was about to get Biblical, Daddy stepped in and told her that after getting married, the parents pray for one. With a family history of PCOS, she’ll learn the hard way that prayer is probably the least effective way of making a baby, but considering just seven, she’s got a while before that particular lesson needs to be learned.
My son has recently jumped on the bandwagon and we now spend a lot of time sifting through who made what. “Did God make dinosaurs” and I will reply, “Yes, God made dinosaurs.” Or, “Did God make spoons?” and I will reply, “Nope, God made people and people made spoons.” He is always astounded by the whole middle management approach to life. Like, why didn’t God just make the spoons?
The best part about these conversations is that they never extend beyond the car. As soon as we get home, pop our shoes in the closet, and hang our coats on the rack, all their concerns about God and their interest in the mysteries of the universe just disappears. “Hey Mommy, can I have a snack?”