Zachary’s newest obsession is figuring out whether or not things happened in real life. I suppose I could get into an existential discussion with him, pondering the definition of “real life,” but I suspect the kid is just trying to sort through which boogeymen he ought to worry about climbing in his bedroom window.
“Mommy,” he began on the way to camp last week. “You know there are such things as pirates in real life.” I wanted to reassure him that, no, there are no pirates. However, the only currency I have with my kids is that they know I always tell them the truth.
“Yes, there are a few,” I told him. “But not here.” This last part is my standard refrain whenever he worries about coyotes, tornadoes, or plagues of locusts.
“Yes, they aren’t here. They are mostly by the ocean. And they only bother you if you bother them.” Apparently, he has confused pirates and wasps.
Hazarding a guess as to the origins of this conversation, I brought up David Shannon’s How I Became a Pirate. “And that little boy shouldn’t have talked to them, should he have?”
“Yes,” he responded, blowing off my point. “But, grandpa explained that the pirates now are mostly just trying to steal things.”
OK, now we are at the root of the issue. You see, when we were in D.C., four months ago, there was a picture in the paper of some pirates who had been apprehended. And Grandpa, taking the whole truthfulness thing a bit far, explained the entire story to Zachary. And that little tidbit has been percolating for four months as he mulled over the possible threat to his well-being from modern-day pirates.
Note to Grandpa: the next time he asks you about an item in the newspaper, no matter the actual topic, the only acceptable answer is, “It’s a story about four cuddly kittens.”