Mommy, what's a "rough men" that's in the camps?
A Few More of the Conversations Occasioned By Reading the Little House Books, In Order, With My Five-Year-Old Daughter in the Year 2013
--The creative bedtime-routine evasion one:
Me: Hon, it's time to brush your teeth and go potty.
Kid Gleemonex: After I finish my chores, Mommy -- I hafta put my horse on its picket line. [returns to carefully tying length of embroidery thread around a drinking straw stuck deep into the pile of the carpet; the other end is around the neck of Goldie the stuffed unicorn]
--The one about predetermined gender roles:
--KG: Why can't Laura go with Pa out to the field?
--Me: Well, because she's a girl -- back then, if you were a girl, you did all the work in the house, and if you were a boy, you went out to the fields, and did the hunting, and all that stuff.
--KG, with all the reasonableness of a Montessori-schooled Californian child in 2013: But a boy could learn to sew. He might like to sew. And everybody who wants to can cook, and if a boy wants to wear a dress he can, and --
--Me: I know, baby -- that's how it is now, but in Laura's time, the rule was, boys did the outside stuff, and girls did the inside stuff. Nobody had a choice, and not many people really thought about it.
--KG, declaratively, flatly, with narrowed eyes: I want to learn to sew. And I want to go out to the garden and help my Daddy. And [Danger Baby] can cook. [sudden tone shift, as is her wont] Danger Baby is a poop-butt! He's a butthead! Mommy, Danger Baby is a poopy-butthead butt-poop-face! [extended giggling fit]
--One of the many about guns and animals:
--KG: Why does Pa always take his gun with him when he goes out?
--Me: In case he finds some game to shoot for them to eat, or if he runs into danger.
--KG: Like bears or wolfs or panthers?
--KG: And if he sees an animal that would be good to eat, he can shoot it and then they will eat it!
--Me: Yeah, they don't have grocery stores, so if they want to eat any protein, that's pretty much the only way they'll get it.
--KG: But my daddy doesn't take a gun with him. What if there are bears when Daddy goes running?
--Me [stupidly, because we have gone down this road before, many times]: There aren't any bears here, not anymore --
--KG, morally outraged: Because BAD PEOPLE went and shot ALL THE BEARS just because they were big and scary and but they weren't even doing anything to the people and now there AREN'T ANY BEARS ANYMORE!
[fifteen-minute digression on how sad it is that all the bears around here are gone, and how we understand that the point of guns was different once upon a time than now and how we wish people weren't such ignorant aggressive assholes]
--KG, with conviction: Guns are the baddest. I would take all the guns in all the whole seven continents and put them in a hole and cover them up and pour concrete on the hole and nobody can ever shoot any animals or people anymore.
--Me: Yeah -- me too, baby. Me too. [hugs her tight]
Bonus Feature: My Image and Search History, Chronicling My Attempts to Provide Visual Aids to My Explanations of Certain Antiquated or Unfamiliar Objects and Concepts Detailed in the Books
--1870s corset hoop skirts
--where is the prairie
--how to make butter
--how maple sugar is made
--what is tree sap