On most days, the little guy is your basic young 'un who contemplates some deep issues of grave importance to the way the world works. It isn't unusual for me to be talking with him about magnetism over his scrambled eggs, or for me to have had this talk about water with him last night over macaroni and cheese:
"Mom, you know...(so many of his talks start with him sounding like Marlin Perkins) water is made up of red hydrogen molecules and blue oxygen molecules."
(Yes, I should know better by now, but I can't let things like this rest...and, for that matter, neither can my husband) "Oh, no, they're not really red and blue, honey. That's a representation of the molecules. And the proper names for hydrogen and oxygen by themselves are atoms. Both of them together in a combination of two hydrogen atoms to one oxygen atom make up water molecules."
"And those atoms are blue and red, right, Mom?"
"That's for pictures of them. The real atoms can't be seen without the use of powerful microscopes. And water itself is clear."
"Like looking through a glass window. Water doesn't have a color."
"But what about the ocean? They say the ocean's blue."
"That's a reflection of the sky above it."
"But it's salt water. Isn't salt water blue?"
"No, it's clear. If you pick it up in a cup, it might have some stuff in it from all the sea life and a certain amount of salt in it, but if the water is distilled from that state, it's clear."
"But they say the ocean is blue."
"You know what? You should ask your grandpa about this. He's a scientist. He studies cell biology, takes a look at all the microscopic stuff that makes us people up."
"But has he studied water?"
"He and your grandma both have had to study some molecular biology, and have had to learn about elemental atoms and particles and such. Ask them next time."
And the above is a fairly tame conversation compared to the times he asks me some really tough stuff about human nature and its heart of darkness. The latest in that series was when he asked me about suicide. "What's suicide, Mom?" From a six-year-old. God help me.
However, there are those moments that will stand out for all eternity. Those times when his antics are strangely appropriate, yet inappropriate all at the same time. That moment this past Mardi Gras day when I was sitting out on the porch with some blogger peeps and the child comes wandering out there with only his shirt on, the blogger peeps' oldest child following behind him grinning from ear to ear. That instant when he announced for all the parading world beyond our balcony, "Mom, I'm changing my pants."
"Uhhh, thanks honey. Finish the job, please," I told my darling, half-naked child as nonchalantly as I could.
He nodded. The kid was satisfied. He'd checked in with Mom, and life was good. The blogger spawn followed him back inside, still grinning.
However, one person did not get this memo, and it was my husband. I heard him bellowing from inside the house, in a most incredulous, horrified voice, "WHERE ARE YOUR PANTS????!!!?!?!??"
The kid was in a houseful of our guests. It was only natural for my husband to be appalled at the half-au natural little guy.
But then again, it WAS Mardi Gras.
I'm just not ready for this kid to go off gently into the Quarter, though...