Kids ask tough questions.
Like: “Do fish get thirsty?”
I replied that they do, and the most common cause of preventable fish death are the greedy ones drinking up all the water in their tanks.
“And why isn’t there a country called Old Zealand?” the child continues (questions rarely have logical connections).
“It sank,” I said. “Which is why they had to build a new one.”
It’s tough being a dad because we naturally fall into the role of Font of All Knowledge, despite having a fraction of the memory storage capacity of the average woman, smartphone or pedometer.
Still, if the kids are asking you questions, at least they are not telling other people stuff about you.
Children’s natural truthfulness (reinforced by thoughtless educators and Sunday school teachers) really makes parenting difficult.
All parents have memories of lines they still cringe at:
“My Dad’s so fat that if you hit his tummy once, it just keeps on wobbling for ages.”
“Mom and Dad let me watch TV as much as I like on Saturday evenings because that’s when they do wrestling practice in their room.”
“Mom can’t come to the phone because she’s doing a poo and told me to tell you that she is having a shower.”
Yet I console myself with the fact that at least I don’t try to combine the roles of dad and criminal, as one man did.
A jewelry shop security guard who approached a pair of shoppers heard the six-year-old daughter scolding her father, according to a news story sent to me by a reader.
“Dad! Stop breaking into jewelry cases,” she said.
An arrest followed.
That report reminded me of a case a few years ago when police went to arrest a woman at her home but couldn’t find her.
“She’s upstairs, hiding under the bed,” her giggling child explained. “I’ll show you.”
But the good news is that you can, SOMETIMES, outsmart children.
When one of mine demanded a nightlight because “she was scared of monsters,” I told her that she could not have one as night lights made it much easier for monsters to find children.
“They have special machines that detect night lights from far away,” I said. “And they tell all their monster friends.”
In my household, I try to maintain a policy in which Dad is okay to accept general and technical questions.
Such as: “Daddy, why do teachers only give you grades A, B, C, D or F? What happened to all the Es?”
“They ran out,” I said. “They gave them all to me when I was at school.”
But I do think Dads are entitled to deflect questions that relate to sex, gender, relationships, etc, because guys are not good at talking about that stuff.
Such as: “Since Donald Duck never wears trousers, how come he wears a towel when he comes out of the shower?”
“That’s a body parts question. Go ask your mom.”
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