Zoe was in the bath and, apropos of nothing, looks at me, very concerned. “Daddy, am I getting old?”
“You’re still very young, sweetie.”
“Am I getting older?”
“Every day. Everyone is.”
“Am I going to die?”
Now let me pause briefly to say that this single question will actually bring a moment of horror to a parent’s thoughts. I don’t want to think about that day for me let alone for her.
The best response I could come up with was, “Everyone does, Zoe. But it’s a very, very long time away.”
She seemed to pay as little attention to the answer as she does most of my answers. She got a smile on her face and said, “Can I color now?”
So I handed her the new bathtub crayons.
“Thanks, Daddy,” she said.
As Zoe loves to help us cook, we have taught her certain lessons and enforced certain behaviors in the kitchen in some attempt to keep all of her digits attached until somewhere close to adulthood. We have instilled in her the caution around ovens, near burners, and, especially, around knives.
This is, of course, all well and good until I break out the pocket knife at the pizza parlor to cut up her piece of pizza (the plastic knives never cut it… literally… and figuratively), at which point she jumps up on to the bench, on her feet and proclaims, quite loudly, “DON’T CUT ME, DADDY!”