“And how old are you, Daddy?” H- asked for the third time.
“I thought I told you earlier today, H-, I’m thirty-three,” he said.
“Well, I’m four and a half,” she responded. “When I’m thirty-three, how old will you be?”
Taking longer than he’d like to admit, he finally concluded, “I’ll be fifty-two. No, wait, sixty-two.”
“And when I’m sixty-two, how old will you be?”
“Hmm, I’ll be,” he paused to do the math again. “I’ll be ninety-one.”
“And when I’m ninety-one, how old will you be?”
“Well, I probably won’t be around,” he said, figuring she mentioned death enough while playing with her stuffed animals that she’d get the point.
“Where will you be?” she asked with a look of simple confusion.
“Never mind. You’ll have your own kids and they’ll have kids and they’ll have kids when you’re ninety-one.”
“I’ll have kids?”
“As many as you want.”
“Two hundred and,” she paused, “nineteen.”
“Sure, H-, you can have two hundred nineteen kids.”
“But then my belly will explode!” she said with a giggle.
“Well, not all two hundred nineteen will be in there at once.”
“I think I’ll have two kids,” she said, revising her desire drastically.
Playing along, he said, “Okay. And sometimes two kids can fit together.”
“And they will not touch the stove,” she said, wagging her finger.
Looking at her and smiling, he thought, “And there it is. Seems I probably was too dramatic on that lesson last week after all. I’ve been wondering about that. Noted.”
Then he said aloud, “Yes, H-, they probably shouldn’t get in the habit of touching the stove.”