I brought along my five-year-old daughter for a meeting I had to attend in Seattle today. She had a good time being with her dad but she eventually got bored. There are only so many pages in a coloring book and only so many ways a little girl can draw a pony or a dinosaur before losing interest. Fortunately the meeting ended soon enough and down the highway we went to see my boss, who is in the hospital with leukemia.
My boss smiled when we walked in the room, and my little girl wasn't disturbed by seeing this sick but very brave man lying in the hospital bed. After the visit, we were walking to our van in the hospital parking garage when my girl asked a pointed question:
"Daddy, how did he get sick?"
"I don't know," I said, after searching for something to say. "I just don't know."
There was a pause before she spoke again, trying to attach some blame to his condition.
"Maybe he drank too much soda."
I couldn't help but laugh and laugh. If only it were that simple. Yeah, I guess there's evidence out there that soda will kill you if consumed in extremely large quantities, but... it made sense to her.
I'm not surprised by a child's perception of things. They attach meaning to things based on what they know. Perhaps she heard that sodas cause cancer in lab animals. I don't know.
Another statement of the obvious made me smile again a little while later.
We have a pet rabbit. My daughter went with me last month to a feed store to get a bale of straw for the rabbit's cage. So my daughter equates hay with rabbits. Makes sense.
On the way home, after I treated her to an ice cream cone, we were behind a large semi hauling hay, enough for a herd of cattle.
"Wow! Look at that!" she exclaimed.
After a pause she said, "I bet he has a pet rabbit, too!"
And why not?