Do Bees Do It? Do Trees Do It?

I remember the days when I waited impatiently for the kids to properly start talking. Well, they started quite a while ago, and have been going at it pretty much non-stop since then, but recently they took things to a new plane. This happened a few days ago, so what follows is certainly not verbatim, but this is the gist of it.

Mrini: Mama, dogs do potty?
Me: Yes, dogs do potty.
Mrini: Cows do potty?
Me: Yes, cows also do potty.
Mrini: Ummmm… horses do potty?
We were driving out for a prolonged outing at this point, so I began to not like this obsession with potty.
Me: Yes, pretty much all animals do potty.
Thinking to myself: Do they? What about bees? Or earthworms? Or ants? Do they all do potty? Am I on safe ground here? Oh well, she’s only three years old, it should be safe enough for now.
Mrini: Tree does potty?
Me: No, see, a tree is not an animal. A tree is a plant. Plants don’t do potty.
To myself: They don’t, do they?
Mrini (after thinking it over for a minute or two): Then what is a plant?
Me: See, both plants and animals are living things. But animals move. You know, like dogs, cows, horses, people, they all move, they can walk and run and play. Plants don’t move.
To myself: Now I know some plants do move. Surely I don’t have to go into those kinds of exceptions right now. It will only confuse the matter.
Mrin (on a different track)i: Then cycle is an animal?

Uh-oh. Now what have we gotten into here!?

I explained to Mrini that cars and cycles and the like can be made to move, but they have to have someone do the moving – like a driver. Dogs and cows, on the other hand, move on their own volition. Of course, they can be made to move too, with the use of kicks, whips, reins, or whatever. I didn’t want to go there. Plus you have other machines that move without a visible driver – like robots and things. I didn’t want to go there either. So, since we had reached wherever we were going, I let the topic drop.

It was about a day and a half later, that Tara piped up (yeah, maybe she’s a bit slow, but you can’t say she wasn’t paying attention): Mama, fan does potty?

By this time, of course, I’d completely lost track of the previous discussion. I was busy in the kitchen and I answered with a preoccupied no. I didn’t know where she was going with it until she fired her next salvo.

Tara: Fan is an animal?

Hmmm… of course, it moves, and it doesn’t have a driver, so by that definition, it should be an animal. And animals do potty, so…

Sadia is right: it’s time I started giving the girls basic science and logic lessons.

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