There’s this time each morning a I dread. Not as much as actually waking the kids up, getting them dressed, and getting breakfast in their stomachs, but a far stranger time. A time I never know what to expect.
The time from the moment I start the car engine until I pull in daycare’s parking lot. During this time, I’m a captive audience. I have nowhere to go and nowhere to hide. This is when my preschooler peppers me with the strangest “facts” and then demands to know if they’re true.
Of course they’re not, and then comes the explanation.
Which must be worded carefully because you know she’s going to share with her whole preschool.
For example, earlier this week, my daughter waits to spring the question on me until I’m pulling out of the driveway. At which point, she says, “Momma, if you get frostbite on your big toe or your little one, you have to chop them off, right?”
I blink a couple of times, shake my head, and focus on getting out of the driveway while I think how to phrase my answer.
I assume that her daycare teachers were explaining to the children why they had to wear their outside clothes to go out. I can only imagine the “joy” of two teachers getting fourteen kids into their hats, mittens, snow pants and coats before going outside every day, twice a day.
So, I proceed to explain to her that, no, just getting frostbite doesn’t mean they have to amputate your toes. We talk about how bad frostbite is and how much worse it can be. We then talk about how important our warm winter gear is and how it protects us from getting too cold and getting frostbite.
“And hypothermia,” says my preschooler.
“And hypothermia,” I agree.
“If you get hypothermia, you’ll die.”
“Which is why you have to wear your winter gear,” I say. Because of course I have to get this point across to the child that quotes Elsa at me whenever she doesn’t want to wear her mittens.
I then tell her that you don’t necessarily die if you get hypothermia and are treated for it in time, but then I pause. Did my preschooler just say the word “hypothermia”? And use it correctly in a sentence, in the proper context?
I want to ask, but almost don’t because sometimes it’s better not to know. Still, curiosity won out. “Where did you learn about hypothermia and frostbite?”
“I don’t remember.”
So, she can remember the word hypothermia and what it means, but not where she learned it. Going out on a limb, I ask, “Why did you think we’d have to cut off your toes if they got frostbitten?”
“Well, *insert her friend’s name here* said so, and we were talking about it on the playground…”
Ahhh, playground misinformation has already started.
When the conversation finally ended and I took her into daycare, I reminded her to wear her winter stuff so she wouldn’t get frostbite.
“Or hypothermia,” she said as she skipped off to her classroom.
I shook my head, got back in my car, and enjoyed the silence all the way to work.
How about you? Your child ever ask you strange questions? How did you answer them? If not a child, maybe a co-worker or friend comes up with some zany things?