Monday, December 23, 2013

The Things They Tell Me...

I. Snake (6)

We were driving in the car when she said out of nowhere, "How many people do you think are on the earth?"

"I don't really know," I replied, with some curiosity.

"I think it's infinity," she said with finality, having clearly established the answer in her mind before ever asking me.

"It can't be infinity," I  said, "because there's always an exact number."

"But does anyone know the number?"

"Well, not really, because at any given moment, there are always people being born and dying. No one could possibly keep count."

"Is that infinity?"

"If it's not, it's something a lot like it."

II. Natalie (3)

She was brushing her teeth when I chided her, "Don't stick your toothbrush down those little holes! There's dirt in there!"

"But Mother," she laughed, "there's an animal that's stuck in there and he's talking to me."

As I washed her brush out, I told her, "You know, when I was a little girl I used to believe there was a tiny family living down the drain of my bathroom sink, and I used to feed them water."

"I think at that point," she mused thoughtfully, "I was an old lady."

This was not the first time she had referred to her idea that our ages will always exist in some transverse relationship. Every time I mention that she'll be a lady some day, she tells me, "That's when you'll be a little girl!" I've never corrected her; I just keep waiting to hear the idea fleshed out more as her imagination grows.

"You think so?" I asked her.

"Yeah, I do," she said seriously.


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