Yesterday we had this conversation at the dinner table, while eating the leftover meat from a turkey stew S was making. Each child had a turkey drumstick and was picking the meat off and eating it.
W: (upon seeing the pot of bones) “Bone! Gnaw!Gnaw!” Not “eat, eat” his usual reaction to the sight of food but “gnaw, gnaw”! The parents indulged in silent giggling.
Su: (still studying skeletons, carefully pulling bits off the bone and looking at them before eating) “I found a piece of cartilage!”
S: “Give it to me and I’ll add it to the broth I’m making. It will cook and cook until it melts and makes the broth delicious.”
F: “Can we do one of those string skeletons?”
Me: “You mean can we put a skeleton back together?”
F: “Yes, without any cartilage or anything.” (this was a reference to a conversation a few weeks ago.)
Me: “Tell you what, if we catch any mice this year, we can try to boil it or something and put it back together.”
F:” Bugs would be better.”
Me: ” Yes, but we don’t have room for bug tanks, maybe we could bury it in the compost for a few months.”
S: ” I think a mouse skeleton is too small.”
Su (very excited): ” We could use a big bird!”
Me: “Like the dead goose we saw on the road today?”
One of the children :” We could boil it and put it back together!”
Me (to S): “Oh great, now I’m supposed to collect and cook roadkill.”
F:” We should take these turkey bones and bury them in the back yard for a week and I could check on them every couple of days until they turned into stone.”
(Parental look of amusement, then S says I should explain (why me?) I got lost in the middle though so when dinner was over we called my mother, for a good explanation.
After F talked to Grandma and got his questions answered, I talked to my brother (just back from deployment for a few minutes).
His first comment? “Why are you doing school at 7:30pm?”
“Because we never stop “doing school” around here. And by the way F has a long list of questions about flying for you (he’s a pilot)”
It’s true though. We never do stop having conversations like this, or engaging in some learning activity even if it’s only building something with Legos during room-time in the afternoon. Many times the conversations are amusing, but often they are serious too. I’m eagerly anticipating the teenage years and the conversations we’ll have then!