Car Talk

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For five weeks this summer, five-year-old Daughter and seven-year-old Son attended day camp from 9-3:30. Everybody loved it. My kids loved the counselors, the other kids, the field trips, the water slide, popsicles, and all the games they played.

I loved the 9 to 3:30. (It’s true, I murmured Hallelujah, but only to myself and only about ten times a day.)

One added bonus was listening in on their conversations each morning and afternoon on the way to and from camp. Somehow, kids manage to take adulthood’s most serious subjects and strip them of their, well, seriousness.

Morning Conversation #5

“Two girls can have babies and I’m going to marry Caroline,” Daughter declares, citing once again her enduring devotion to her best friend.

“No, they can’t,” Son counters.

“Yes, they can and we’re going to have five babies. And they’ll all be girls!”

“No, they can’t,” Son repeats. “You need a Mommy and a Daddy to have kids.”

“Yes, they can!”

“No, they can’t!”

Repeat five more times and then they come to blows.

Finally, Mommy jumps in from the front seat with her two cents. “Two girls or two boys can raise a baby but you need a girl and a boy to make one.” Please, oh, please, don’t let them ask what this means….

“See? I told you so,” Son says.

“See, I knew we could,” Daughter says.

Miraculously, I’ve managed to navigate that one unscathed. And this on the eve of legal gay marriage in New York. How timely of them.

Afternoon Conversation #11 (with Husband in the car)

“Rock, Paper, Scissors, Shoe!”

“It’s Shoot, honey.” Two cents again.

“Rock, Paper, Scissors, Shoe!

They throw out hand gestures endlessly, seamlessly, and all is calm in the car. The kids are thrilled with this game they’ve picked up in camp. I’m amazed that while every other topic imaginable warrants competition (note the fight over who gets to be the head or tail before we even flip the coin), this old standby sails right through it. Then it gets interesting.

“Now, we can be anything!” Son announces, interjecting a twist I’ve never heard of before.

“Bananas, Car, Window!”

“Butt, Diaper, Pee Pee!” Of course.

“Penis, Vagina!”

Don’t know and can’t see what the hand gestures are for these.

“Penis wins.”

“No, it doesn’t.”

“Yes, it does,” says Son confidently.

“Why does it win?” I ask.

Husband raises an eyebrow and mouths ‘DON’T GET INTO THIS.’

“Well,” Son explains. “The Penis runs around and chases the Vagina and then it tackles it and flattens it and wins.”


He’s about ten miles from the truth and yet masculinity reigns. The Feminist in me squares her shoulders and turns to offer her full fifty cents from the front seat. Husband balks.

“No, the Penis and the Vagina are equals. Nobody wins.”


“Butt, Butt, Pee Pee!” They move on.

I sit back, satisfied that the Seven Sisters have sighed in their heaven, and thankful, for once, for simple potty words. One of these days, I’m going to have to explain the whole sex thing. Not, fortunately, today.

In a week, they’ll start taking the bus to school. I suppose I’ll get some car talk on the way to soccer. But most of the good stuff will happen on the bus; out of range of Mommy’s prying ears. In the midst of hot and sweaty mayhem, they’ll make their own truths shouting, yelling, taunting, and teaching each other what’s what in the world.

And I’ll try to straighten it all out over cookies and milk at the kitchen counter.

Coming next month: Snack Talk: Lurid kid truths hot off the bus!

One Comment

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