I keep trying to remember what I did when I was younger and came across something I didn't understand or know anything about in a book? What did we do before the internet? It blows my mind that my daughters will NEVER know a time when it wasn't as simple as grabbing a phone, tablet, or laptop to instantaneously find out the answer to a burning question. I cannot decide if that is a good thing or a bad thing?
I distinctly remember one night when my oldest was probably about 4 years old. She was SUPPOSED to be going to sleep in her bed, and I was trying to get some work done in our office when she asked me how many people live in China. Really? That is what you need to know when it is well past your bedtime? I shouted back to her that I didn't really know, it was late, and she needed to go to sleep.
But her response was profound. She said, "But Mommy, I can't turn my brain off. Google it."
I sat there in the other room and stifled my laughter. I wasn't sure what was more surprising- the demand that I Google information or that she was able to verbalize that she couldn't quiet her mind down to go to sleep. So I opened Pandora's box and Googled how many people live in China. And then she had to know how many people live in the US and Mexico and Australia. And since that time, we have had to look everything up.
The book Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi is this humorous and playful book that gets children comfortable with pooping. (If you have a child that is potty training age or a kid that feels uncomfortable "letting it go," I highly recommend picking up this book.) Miss M loved the book. Let's face it, all kids like to hear the word poop spoken out loud, on purpose, without getting into trouble. At one point in the book, there is this beautiful painting of a whale straining, with the words, "What does whale poop look like?" This of course forced Miss M to beg the question, "Mommy, what DOES whale poop look like?"
So you can probably guess what her response was when I said I didn't know. Yes, Google it. If you don't know what it looks like, you go Google it. It is gross.
Fast forward to a couple weeks ago, poop came up again in conversation. We were delightfully engrossed in Ivy and Bean Make the Rules (Book 9), which is written by Annie Barrows and illustrated by Sophie Blackall, when the reading had to come to a screeching halt. The Ivy and Bean books are addictive in the sense that they capture the heart of mischievous girls. The girls are quirky and clever, and in book 9 they decide to make their own summer camp. Creativity ensues as they are left to their own devices all day to use their imaginations and play. In the Chapter: Monkey Park Gone Wild, Ivy decided that the activity for the day would be to do nature study. They decide to study the Komodo dragon. And the conversation goes something like this:
"Today's nature study is," she paused dramatically, "the Komodo dragon."
"Komodo dragons are lizards," Ivy explained. "They're longer than two grownups put together. Their spit is red and poisonous. And guess what: They don't ever poop.""Say what????" My daughter stopped me. I implored her for us to read further to find out more.
"What do they look like?" asked Harlan. "How can they not poop?""Seriously mom, how can an animal not poop?" I knew we weren't going to get further in the book, so we paused to spend the next 30 minutes looking up information about Komodo dragons online and watching videos about them. Did you know that scientists have discovered that Komodo dragons have a venom that basically causes the animals they bite to bleed to death? And that some Komodo dragons, to speed up the slow process of swallowing their prey whole, will run with a carcass in their mouth at full speed and ram themselves against a tree to shove that dead animal into their stomach? We could never decidedly find out that the dragons actually do not poop, but after a Komodo dragon eats it spits out a gastric pellet with all the leftovers it couldn't digest (hair, bones, teeth, etc.). So we figured that replaces pooping. Interesting.
"They look like giant brown lizards," answered Ivy. "They can't chew. They don't have any taste buds." She didn't know how they could not poop, so she didn't answer that question.
I never in a million years would have ever thought to look up information about Komodo dragons or what whale poop looks like, but that is what makes this adventure of being a parent so amazing. You just never know what fun factoid you are going to be on the hunt for next.