Up until lately, I’ve considered myself an intellectual match for my four-year old, except maybe when I’m especially tired, and he hits me with the hard questions, like “What are people made of?” “Are jellyfish really fish?” and “Where are my shoes?”
But when he recently asked me “do wolves eat people?” I was torn between not wanting to foster in him a lifelong fear of wolves, wanting to be truthful and informative, and realising I didn’t actually know the answer. So I went with, “well, they wouldn’t normally, so you don’t have to worry, but if you were right in front of them all covered with butter like a waffle, they might be tempted to take a bite.” Clever, right? Divert potential fear of wolves and distract with delicious breakfast foods. “Oh,” he said, “but once they took a bite they wouldn’t want to eat me anymore, because I’m made of meat [see previous discussion regarding what people are made of], and they like waffles?”
Knowing this piece of misinformation would most likely be proudly repeated to his pre-school teacher unless immediately corrected, I backpedaled to a less satisfying answer about how I’m not actually sure, and we would “look it up when we get home.” “So you don’t know?” “Well no, sweetie, I’m not sure. “Oh,” said he. “Mommy, you shouldn’t guess. I’m trying to learn here.”
Thank goodness for school. (And early bedtimes).