i ran

today’s lesson in parenthood: you’ll never know the fun you’ll have discussing middle eastern issues with a nine year old.

BC and i were driving to camp this morning. i didn’t have my mp3 player hooked up in the car, so we were at the mercy of the radio. i couldn’t bear to hear the mattress discounters commercial one more time, so i put on NPR. you never know what you’ll get on NPR, one of the reasons i like it so much. and lately, BC is interested in the stories she hears, so i turn it on every now and again.

of course, today, the big news is that iran continues to test more missiles. what’s iran? BC asked after hearing the scary tale.

once again, i was thrilled to be the parent who gets the good questions, not like BS, who gets questions like: daddy, why can’t i have candy in the morning? and: daddy, is it dessert night? nope, i have already (poorly) tackled evangelicals and abortion, homosexuality, and menstruation. why not middle eastern politics? it’s definitely a different tack than the other conversation we seem to be having this week: whether or not BC is chubby or too heavy, as the other little girls have a harder time picking her up at cheerleading.

of course, you know what i told her about that: those girls need to start lifting weights! (as if.) i also seriously told her about how its difficult when you’re a curvy and muscular tween girl. a lot of other girls haven’t started developing yet, and you feel bulky and cumbersome.  i still remember thinking how huge i was in comparison to the other girls when i was her age. it was, essentially, muscular me versus the twig girls.

i worked myself into some borderline eating disorder moments because of it, and i’ll be damned if girlfriend goes down that path, too.

but back to iran, the topic most mothers and daughters are chatting about these days. well, i started out in a ::cough cough:: reaganesque tone, iran is a country in the middle east. for awhile, they were led by a US-backed ruler called a shah; i suspect he wasn’t nice to all of the people. then, some religious people kicked the shah out of the country. they took american hostages out of the US enbassy there. i still remember as a girl watching the news. as the announcer would tell you how many days the hostages were in captivity.

the president at that time, jimmy carter, tried to rescue them, but the attempt was a disaster. the day that ronald reagan became president, they released the hostages, which was great for them and obnoxious for president carter. i guess the people who took the hostages might have thought that reagan would have done something scarier to get the hostages out, so they released them.

anyway, there are a lot of very religious people there now who don’t like people who don’t follow their ways. (yes, i was very, very close to my separation of church-state speech here, but i hadn’t had coffee yet. i spared the child.) so right now, people are concerned about iran having missiles like these because if they have them, they can hit a lot more targets.

like us? she asked.

well, not us, i continued, but israel. they don’t recognize israel and don’t like israel, so people are afraid they might send those things toward israel. israel is surrounded by a lot of other countries that don’t like it, so israel would probably act pretty tough in return if iran sent missiles over.

well, that would start World War III, girlfriend said.

sometimes, i marvel at her ability to grasp things. yes, it could, i replied. but there are a lot of people who don’t want that to happen, and so people are keeping an eye on the situation.

where do they test them? she continued.

i don’t really know, honey, i replied. maybe the desert, maybe the ocean. i don’t know.

does it cause big waves in the ocean? does it hurt the fish?

there are so many questions you wish you could answer as a parent. and then of course, there are questions you have that are also sadly unanswerable.

with apologies to sting, i hope the iranians love their children, too.


10 Responses to “i ran”

  1. you’re rocking uncharted waters for me, as usual…. EGirl is focused on how the world began so we’re talking about the big bang over here. Weighty stuff in your camp ride.

  2. Dang! Quite the morning drive you had going there. This year Sportsboy started getting into current events. He watched a few debate and primary return shows with me. We also had a discussion Global Warming after his science class covered it. It’s fun to witness their brains working on a whole new level.

  3. Funny that you wrote this today. I was flipping through stations and stopped on NPR for a moment. Just long enough for my kids to hear “torpedo and missile.” Those are super exciting words to 3 and 4 year old boys. I couldn’t muster up a way to discuss the topic with them so I changed the subject to “Hey look, a firetruck!” I’m saving this post to share with them when they’re a bit older…at this rate, they might be drafted to fight in Iran.

  4. Wow. And here I was expecting this post to be about A Flock of Seagulls.

    I’m gonna remember the way you handled this, which was stellar. I tend to bite off too much — “well, in the beginning, there was this amoeba-like thing floating around in the ocean” — but they sometimes “get it” even when I throw too much at them. Your answer was perfect — and how smart is your daughter?!

    I need to read you answer about menstruation (I might learn something).


  5. thanks for all the kind words! and yes, foolery, i toyed with the idea of putting a flock of seagulls on here, but i stopped myself 😉

    and never underestimate the power of “oh, look, a firetruck!” ilinap. around here, we call it an “anyone want hot cocoa?” moment 🙂

  6. MiddleBro Says:

    As Golda Meir said “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”

  7. i’m pretty sure meir also said something like: “you can’t shake hands with a clenched fist.”

  8. Ah yes, the NPR “stumper” questions. From the UN’s best friend he learns about Pokemon and the 5 billion permutations of critters and superpowers, guns and shields, and some dude named Ben10. From me (in the car with the NPR on) he learns about forklift operators who get crushed and killed by machinery and McCain and casualties in Iraq.

    It’s my innocence that’s being stripped away, and I’m not sure I’m ready for it.

  9. Somewhat of a tangent: Have you seen the photoshopped images of the missiles in Iran? *eye roll*

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