The age is 9, by the way

If you’re wondering at what age kids start to philosophize about how it’s possible for an adult to be born yesterday and still be older than they are, I believe it is around nine years old.

My nine-year-old stepdaughter — who would ask me to remind you that she is turning 10 in less than a month — has started demonstrating such notions, emerging in the form of this question (asked in utter shock): “How did you know that?”

Some examples from the past month:

9 year old (asking me a trivia question): What does ‘com’ stand for in ‘dot com’?
Me (a child of the Internet generation): Commercial
9 year old: How did you know that?

9 year old (listening to music): Who’s this song by?
Me (a teenager when “Complicated” came out): Avril Lavigne
9 year old: How did you know that?

9 year old (another trivia question, chosen specifically to stump me): Who was Canada’s first Prime Minister?
Me (a former graduate of elementary school): Sir John A. MacDonald
9 year old: How did you know that?

Indeed, it would appear that our little gem has crossed over, and her father and I have officially been demoted from all-knowing to chauffeur/maid/bank teller status.


Hope for the future: conversations with a 7 year old

I hope you’ll allow me this chance to gush.

I picked up my stepdaughter last Friday and, as we were driving home, we were talking about Christmas and how my husband and I want to give presents to people who actually need them. That’s how the subject of poverty came up. I tried to steer the conversation to a lighter topic, but she started asking me all these questions about how other people live.

She asked if everyone has food and clothes, and whether all kids go to school. When I said ‘no’, she didn’t understand:

“Why can’t school be free?”

“Why don’t people have food?”

“What happens to them if they don’t have food?”

“Why don’t they just move away from the poor cities? Why don’t they just come here?”

“Why do we even need money?”

These were tough questions and there were a few times when I had to say I didn’t know, and that they were complicated issues. But from her seven-year-old point of view, they weren’t hard questions at all. In her opinion, we live in a place that has more than enough and there’s no reason we can’t share.

I tried to explain about governments and greed; she still didn’t accept it. She suggested that Canada starts a “Share Day” where we give half of what we have to poor countries. When I applauded her idea, she said we should go tell the Canadian government. I told her that you can’t just go talk to them, you have to write letters. “Well then everyone should write letters,” she said plainly.

She also said that maybe she would be “a government” one day, and just make everything fair.  Easy peasy.