The Seventy-Fourth Chart (Spurts)

March 8, 2013

By Ekta R. Garg

Enjoy these Spurts from the last two weeks, readers!

Early in the week I got hit with a double tap: both girls managed to ask me unbelievable questions while we finished brushing our teeth in the morning before school.  I handled one fairly well, but the other I completely fumbled.

First, Four asked me, “Mama, what does ‘execute’ mean?”

I asked her where she’d heard the word, and she shrugged.  “I don’t know.”

Now, I realize that today’s education may differ in some ways from when I attended school but I don’t think things have changed so much that four-year-olds run across the word “execute” in their daily reading.  I tried to figure out just where she’d heard the word and in what context (so I could answer appropriately,) but I couldn’t make sense of her noncommittal responses.  So I kind of gave her the parental cue meant to put off the subject as much as possible.

“Um, it means that if a person does a bad thing, the police come and get him and…take him away.”

I know, I didn’t add the part about the bad person dying, but I figured this was good enough for now.

***

That same morning Six shook her head and held up her hands.

“How can you tell the difference between boy babies and girl babies?”

I frowned, still grappling with my definition of “execute” and knew I had to buy some time.

“You mean…when they’re born or when they’re just doing baby things?”

“When they’re born.”

“They have different body parts,” I replied lamely, and already I could see the next question formulating in her mind.

“They have different [private] parts,” I said.  “Now hurry and finish getting ready.”

I managed to dodge her this time, but what happens the next time she wants more details?

***

One day the girls dug through their drawers for paper to color on.  When they couldn’t find any, I encouraged them to take out their coloring books and color in those for a change.  Both of my kids love to color, but they both prefer free draw by a wide margin over coloring in coloring books.

Four began flipping through an older book and saw some pages with scribbles on them.  Doubtless either she or her big sister had scribbled in that book at some point in the last few years.

“Hey, Di-Di,” she said, addressing her big sister, “remember we were babies and we used to scribble a lot?”

Ah, yes.  When they were babies.  So long ago.

***

As they colored Six turned to me with a shy smile.

“Mommy, did you ever have a crush on anyone when you were little?”

I blinked once or twice.  “What?”

“Did you ever have a crush on anyone when you were little?”

I fumbled in my mind for a minute, and then I finally found what I thought was an appropriate answer.

“I never had a crush on anyone when I was a kid,” I said sagely.  “I was too busy playing with my friends and having fun in school and playing and studying.”

Six concentrated on her picture for a minute then said, “Studying’s boring.”

Oh, boy.

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