Daughter 2 and I found ourselves heading to the shopping mecca just south of us a while back. I, unfortunately, was on the phone for a lot of the trip, and Daughter 2 had to entertain herself. Since we were in a vehicle and I wouldn't let her crank the radio up or sing loudly, she dug in the glove compartment. When I finally got off the phone, she had some very serious questions for me.
"Momma?" she started, "Is this a rectal thermometer?"
Rectal thermometer? That's a little bit funny--since we've never even used "rectal," the term or the thermometer, with either of The Daughters. So, I shot a question right back, "What's rectal mean?"
She shrugged her shoulders and said, "Ountno," which is nine-year-old speak for I don't know. I thought that maybe this was the end of the conversation, but the silence was eventually broken.
"What does rectal mean, Momma?"
"Well," I started, "It means something that's inserted or has something to do with the rectum."
"Gotcha," she answered, her voice full of confidence. Then she asked in a much smaller voice, "What's rectum?" she asked twirling the "rectal thermometer" between her fingers.
"Rectum," I started channeling every biology teacher I'd ever know (just two), "is your bottom. It's where your poop comes out."
"Your butt hole?" she clarified.
"Your butt hole,"I confirmed as she maneuvered the "rectal thermometer" in her investigative hands.
She studied the "rectal thermometer" closely--at one point she even sniffed it. Then she returned to her original question, "So, is this a rectal thermometer?"
And at this point, I thought long and hard about why I had kids. I had kids to educate them and to produce caring and serving individuals who will go out and make the world a better place. I glanced at her and thought about her dream to become a pediatrician ... and her dream to play professional basketball for the NBA because they pay better than the WNBA ... and her dream to go on "America's Got Talent." Right now, I was shaping her young mind. Or maybe I was warping it.
I looked at her holding the tire gauge in her hand and I said, "Yes, baby girl, that is a rectal thermometer. And we used to take your temperature with it."
Because the real reason I had kids was to have fun with them.