Of late I have been spending a relatively high proportion of my time hiding in dark corners, no not drinking gin (oh how I wish), but furiously churning out Google search after Google search in response to the boy’s increasingly curious mind.
You see there is nothing like the application of a small child to your life to make you feel inexorably stupid. Apart from my specialist subject of Watership Down, my general knowledge could best be described as dire. I am useless at a pub quiz and may even struggle to remember the name of the Prime Minister under pressure (It’s a mind blank thing ok).
Over the the years i have also become far too ready to accept the status quo. If I were to be asked something like ‘how do planes fly?’ I could chuck in a few choice words (something about pressure, velocity and drag) but in essence I don’t really know. They just ‘do’ fly despite the fact it doesn’t exactly look like they should.
Then if i am asked a question that i do actually know the answer to there is the issue of trying to explain it in a way that a small person understands, using suitable terms and concepts. Such a conundrum, I found myself in just the other day….
I said something like ‘Lightning is the fastest race car in the whole world’
‘What’s the world Mummy?’
‘…Well it’s where we are. It’s got our house on, Nana’s and Pop’s house, parks and…um…stuff…’
He smiles, satisfied with my happy but crude description and carries on turning his cars into makeshift hedgehogs using play-doh and cocktail sticks (there are some blessings to a short attention span).
When J got home from work I regaled him with the conversation. His verdict – ‘That’s the sh*test answer anyone has given to that question, ever.’
A tad harsh I felt considering that the subjects of space, planets and other countries had never properly been broached before. Confident it would be a challenge for anyone to explain in simple terms I looked up the definition:-
‘The World – The earth, together with all of its countries.’ But also ‘One’s World – One’s life and activities’
So if I chucked in a few additional people, and of course lest not forget Pre-School, then I guess you could say I was actually right. Or at least, not exactly wrong.