the hard questions

I think of myself as fairly thoughtful. 

I've been lucky enough to do quite a bit of study and although I'm suffering blackout levels of short term memory loss at present (remind me what my name is?), generally I can figure stuff out. Come up with an answer. Frequently glib and wrong, but an answer. 

So these tricky questions of the smallies. They are my undoing. 

Tilly (3) today: Mum, what is a church?

Apologies to my mother who has just fallen off her computer stool on the farm. I know. Abject failure on my part.

Henry (6) yesterday: Mum, is Santa a real person?

I was going to go all hard core and non-mythical on the Santa question. Always thought I would. Then I heard myself saying: 

Babe, do you think he's real?

Henry: of course he's real.

Me: then he's real to you. 

I thought we'd dealt with the really hard questions with the whole where-do-babies-come-from discussion, but no. 

What does gratitude mean?

What is a season?

How did that snail grow that shell?

What's Halloween?

How do you make sugar?

I'm embarrassed by how many times I say, I don't know, ask your Dad. (Because he has an answer for everything.)

The gratitude question is a big one around here, as I'm trying to encourage a sense of gratefulness, not just acquisitiveness, particularly coming into Christmas. I don't think I'm explaining it well. Would love your help! 

There's lots of things we can google – snail shells is one of them. And sugar. 

I've got one: how did medieval women who couldn't breastfeed (and couldn't pay a wet nurse) feed their babies? Maybe they relied on the kindness of other breastfeeding neighbours? I've heard of milk-soaked fabric, but there's a whole lot of wrong in there. I really want to know! Going to have to go do some research. Any excuse to visit the stacks at uni! (I know, utter dork, did you forget whose blog you were reading?!)

If they get their question-asking from me, they get their excellent dishwashing skills from their Dad. I've got another one: what is she doing? Forget the dishes Tilly, Wiki awaits us!


As for hard questions, 'can I make baby seed with you Dad?' kinda takes the cake. 


P.S. For not a bad introductory article on mercenary wet nursing in Medieval Europe, click here

12 Comments on “the hard questions

Hear Mum Roar
October 28, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Ok, snort laugh on that last question!!

October 28, 2010 at 9:38 pm

hahaha your mind goes to interesting places doesn’t it?!
i do get it though – i was making bread the other day and it just suddenly hit me: i dont know anything about yeast! so i looked it up.

by the by, do you eat your fritata hot or cold? i’v never had it before! sounds lovely though.


October 28, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Go Tilly with the dishes!

I struggle with gratitude too, looking forward to hearing what others have to say.

My tricky one recently was from Mia after I told her about an event that took place before she was born: “But where was I, mum?” “You weren’t born yet” “well, where was I?” “Umm…”

October 28, 2010 at 9:47 pm

I eat it warm, Adam eats it cold. Same with quiche. And custard. xx

October 28, 2010 at 10:01 pm

you should know what Halloween is!
a pre-Christian harvest festival, celebrated in celtic and nordic and germanic cultures, then adapted by the Christians for their own festivities ( they do like a party), then kept up by the Celts and then transported to America.

and a church is (i think) from the Greek for the house of the Lord

although interestingly the French word Eglise is from the Greek word Ekklesia meaning a gathering or community.

wow how boring am I

October 28, 2010 at 10:30 pm

Yvette’s right- church is a building where you worship God and it can also be a group of Christians (without the building)

Gratitude is genuinely saying thanks and being happy with what you’ve got. Fi, I’ve got a great Veggie tales DVD you can borrow about being content compared to consumerism.

And for Jo, if it helps- we explained that they were a little egg/seed inside my body waiting to grow into a baby.

October 28, 2010 at 10:32 pm

If I’m in a good mood, I LOVE those questions … thinking of the answers is the next best thing to adult conversation.

That baby seed story …. is a corker!

Christie, Describe Happy
October 29, 2010 at 2:04 am

Another awesome reminder of how much fun I will have with my future children and at the very same time how I am really not ready for this yet!!

Reply speaking
October 29, 2010 at 2:20 am

Im usually not one to recommend books to complete strangers but now seems a fine time to start LOL. Our book club read the Wet Nurses Tale…it is in the Victorian era and deals more with wealthy women…but given your thought pattern – you may like it.

So many tough questions – I too resort to the ask your father. They really do have a whole different mind set of knowledge sometimes!

October 29, 2010 at 6:58 pm

My little girl (her birthday is today) can’t talk. 🙁

but whe she can and whe ask me about things I’m will say the truth is there something that I don’t know I will say it. And about others facts I’m thinking since now 🙂

October 30, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Great! Know what you mean about memory loss. i must say that the questions if I have the space in my brain are wonderful if not they are mad making! wish I was the write it down kinda person though!

November 1, 2010 at 7:27 am

Um, didn’t medieval breastfeeding women often live very near or with their likely-to-also-be-breastfeeding sisters, mothers, daughters? Not that neighbours aren’t good enough.

And what if you said, Jo, that one day she might have children, and they just haven’t been made yet, and it was just the same with her? I think I would probably say something like that, but have a weird feeling that it might backfire in some way that I ought to see coming, and don’t- is there a can of worms there, obvious to anyone else?


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