Conversations with my children always take on a slightly surreal tinge.
For one, they have the ability to ask questions that test my ability to make sense of a nonsensical world.
“Mummy,” said Miss Diva today, “I know Nelson Mandela loves children. Is that why he went to jail?”
Good heavens, Nelson Mandela and paedophilia in the same sentence. My blood ran cold. Until I realised Miss Diva had no idea of the adult connotations of her sentence.
“No, my love,” I answered, “Nelson Mandela went to jail because the government used to believe that black people were not the same as white people.”
I went on explain about how we used to have to live in different places, go to different schools and even use different toilets.
“But, Mummy,” she said exasperated, “That is so stupid! A person’s a person no matter how small, or how big, or what they look like. And anyway, there aren’t black people or white people. There are only pink people, and peach people, and coffee people, and chocolate people.”
If a child could get it, one wonders why it took a bunch of adults so long to get rid of Apartheid, not to mention slavery and discrimination all over the world.
A brief respite was followed by the Padawan, “Mummy,” and a pause for effect, “Mummy, do you have a heart?”
Startled I replied, “Yes, all living creatures have a heart.”
“Oh,” he said turning to Miss Diva.
“Well,” Miss Diva said with a deep sigh, “You see, Daddy told us that when you shot yourself, the doctors put their hands inside the hole and tore your heart out and put in a box and now you don’t have one.”
After assuring my worried children that my heart was thumping away quite happily in my chest and wondering about the origin of this bizarre comment I went in search of Daddy.
“Oh, um,” said Daddy. “I think there might have been a slight miscommunication.”
Gee, you think?
I’ve been called a heartless bitch before, but not quite on this scale.
“Yes, well you see,” Daddy went on slightly desperately, “We were watching Pirates of the Caribbean and I think they might have got a bit confused between Davy Jones and the story of how you shot yourself.”
Neither of which are really appropriate tales for small children, even my blood thirsty hellions.
Both conversations were surpassed by an even more esoteric one.
“Mummy,” said Miss Diva, “How was the devil made? And is the devil really bad? And does he live in hell? And who is Lucifer?”
From there I had to launch into a complicated explanation of light and dark and balance. Of the story of how the angels fell to earth, the Nephilim, Lucifer as the jealous Angel of the Light, how light casts a shadow and how one can’t be without the other and so we went on.
“But Mummy!” piped by the Padawan, “Lucifer should just say he’s sorry and God would forgive him.”
“Ah,” says I, “But you know how hard it is for you to say sorry sometimes.”
“Yes,” was grunted out.
“Well, it’s the same for ex-angels, pride gets in the way.”
“But Mummy, can’t you just tell God that Lucifer is sorry.”
“When I tell you your sister is sorry for eating your chocolate, do you accept that as an apology?”
“Oh,” came two small voices, “No.”
I swear I learn from conversations with my children and that they make more sense (barring those about the relative superpowers of bugs when flung at sub sonic speeds – see Slugterra), than most I have with full-grown adults.
I think Eeyore may have been wrong. I think grownups have nothing but grey fluff between their ears and children have whole little complex universes.
PS: My Internet is still dead! Why? Why? Why? What is this hideous karmic retribution?