“Mummy?” came the voice of five-year-old Big Brother from the back seat of the car. “Is the Cryptoclidus Oxoniensis the dinosaur with a long neck like a Brachiosaurus but no crest on his head, thin flippers like a turtle, no shell, a body like a manta ray and a short tail like a turtle?”
Hold on a moment, I’ll just draw on my extensive knowledge of dinosaurs learned while I was earning my degree in palaeontology. Wait a minute. I don’t have a degree in palaeontology.
I have a degree in Knowing Everything Because I’m a Mother.
Partly, I blame Jurassic Joe and his catchy dinosaur-themed children’s songs. (“My name is Compsognathus and I may be small, but when it comes to speed I can outrun them all…”) But mostly I blame Big Brother’s irrepressible curiosity. He’s always catching me off-guard with complicated questions that make me realise I don’t know as much about the world as I’d like to think I do. And even when I do know the answers, explaining them at a five-year-old level can be… difficult.
Mummy, I know there were dinosaurs and then they all got dead with a meteor, and then there were people. But how did the Earth go from dinosaurs to people?
Mummy, that tree has lots of seed pods. But if all the seed pods fall off the trees and the seeds go on the earth and grow into more trees, why aren’t there trees everywhere? There’s so many seeds!
Mummy, did you know Jupiter has sixty-three moons? If you were on Jupiter and looked in the sky, would there be moons only at night or in the day too?
Mummy, do carnivores only eat herbivores or do they eat other carnivores? What about if they’re really, really, really, really, really hungry?
Mummy, why do you like coffee and Daddy doesn’t like coffee? Why doesn’t he like the taste?
Mummy, why does T say a t-t-t sound?
Sometimes I wonder what our parents did back in the olden days when there was no handy internet to look up the answers to odd questions we asked. Then I remember: they just made the answers up.
Oh, and in case you’re curious? The answer is yes. The Cryptoclidus Oxoniensis is the dinosaur with a long neck like a Brachiosaurus but no crest on his head, thin flippers like a turtle, no shell, a body like a manta ray and a short tail like a turtle.
What are some of the oddest questions your children have asked you?