Sunday, February 05, 2006

Why Camels Drink So Much Water 

Ok, as you know, I'm an Abba (a Dad). But I think I do a pretty decent job of not abusing that status here on my blog. The cute kid stories have been few and far between.

So I'm overdue. Please bear with me.

My four year old daughter, Miriam, has been home sick with me today. I guess she missed pre-school a little bit because in a rare moment of lucidity between expulsions of bodily fluid, she decided to share with me something she must have learned recently from her pre-school teacher, Tzippy.

Miriam asked me, "Abba, do you know how much water a camel drinks?"

Dutifully recognizing the setup, I shook my head. "No, Miriam, I don't. How much?"

With a look of extreme pleasure, Miriam revealed the answer. "A TON!"

It was so cute, I wanted to probe a little further, to see if she understood where that ton of water was supposed to go, and what it was for. So I asked her the open-ended question she usually gives rather than receives, "Why?"

Amazingly, she actually knew the answer! "Because Tzippy said so."

It always takes a moment to realign my brain when these unexpected truths are sprung on me. Even better than the act of programming computers, talking to kids reminds me that it is in all likelihood impossible for any string of words to have only one possible meaning. I think talking to them protects me from the hubris of believing I could ever receive three wishes and end up as anything but a wealthy frog, wishing just to be myself again.

If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: