My daughter is my most recent and my most fascinating teacher lately. She is 7.
I have always been fascinated by children. For some unknown reason, I have always thought children were most interesting from infant-hood till sometime around the time they begin to lose their milk teeth; I always thought that was the ‘boring period’ (I reckon they’d be boring), until they hit puberty, and then they become an interesting challenge when you either make or break whatever future relationship you will have with them. My daughter has caused me to re-think that theory.Although I have always loved children, being a parent was not something I ever thought I would be (long story for another day), so when my daughter happened to me, she turned my world upside down….yes she happened to me; I was 5 months pregnant and didn’t even know I was!
She is currently in 2nd grade and had been learning loads of things. And being naturally curious, she literally tries to glean for as much info as possible from what she learns daily; always coming up with rather interesting questions and having her own answers.
For example, in biology class, they were taught plant and animal reproduction. Well, from the time she was like 3 years old till 6 (she is 7 now), she has been asking me on almost a daily bases to ‘buy’ a sibling for her. After learning about reproduction in school, she finally concluded that babies were not sold but rather made. She now has a fair idea of how mammals, birds and plants reproduce, and she was telling me a while back in a rather matter of fact manner how mammals reproduce – They plant a seed then nourish it until it becomes a prospective young one and develop. She then seemed to doubt her own theory as she envision the whole seed/development thing in light of plants.
She concluded she must have had her facts wrong about mammals and reproduction since soil was necessary for seeds to thrive. She decided, she will tell me more once she figured out how mammals create their young ones. So I decided to ask what mammals are.
"How do you identify a mammal?" and she told me without hesitation
"They are creatures that create young ones WITHOUT laying eggs, but rather carrying them in their bodies."
When I was her age, I defined mammals as creatures that fed their young ones by the breasts, so of course my cheekiness made me ask for some examples of mammals and she was quick to make a list – monkeys, cows, dogs, cats….and do I know “whales are mammals too?”
“Yes, odd isn’t it? You’d think they are amphibians”
What are amphibians?”
“Sea creatures, with limbs”
“Yes but whales don’t have limbs”
“Exactly! That is why they are mammals!”
“Oh, I thought mammals were animals that grow their young ones in their bodies?”
“So are you a mammal?”
“I will be when I grow up, but YOU were a mammal when you had me?”
“Yes, and you will be again, if you decide to have another child.”
“So do you think Uncle Lele is a mammal?
(with a rather odd look she nodded yes)
She nodded again.
“And Andrea?” (Our name for Andrew).
She nodded. Had a thoughtful look for a moment then finally said, almost regrettably
“It’s sad isn’t it?
“What is sad?”
‘That Zio Lele, and Enzo and Andrea are all male.”
“And why is that sad?” She gave me a look like she was surprised I didn’t know about the obvious universal knowledge.
“They are all men!”
“Well, men cannot grow young ones in their bodies.”
“So that makes them useless mammals, they only hang around to act like they are strong, but really they are idiots, because women are smarter, more intelligent and can raise young ones without them. I am sure they are useful somehow, but not very useful for women.” And she said that in a very serious tone like mankind was doomed because of it.
I had to suppress a laugh.
That was the most intriguing conclusion I have been presented with, in ages. I didn’t pursue the matter further, but I know there is more coming. My daughter has become A LOT vocal and contemplative about every day matters and she gets ME contemplative…..
My daughter is in the lose-milk-teeth age and interestingly I find her a lot more interesting now than I did when she was younger. I have been incredibly blessed with a very clever, very intelligent and very observant curious child; she teaches me something new daily......I shall be sharing more soon; do return for more!