Parents Beware / by Courtney Mehlhaff

Of my many shortcomings, perhaps the most entertaining is that I don't quite know how to answer children's questions appropriately. Maybe it's because I don't have to deal with the aftermath of what comes out of my mouth, but I tend not to sugarcoat things. I kind of talk to kids like they're small adults. 

Exhibit A: I recently took a friend's two boys out for a movie night, and we stopped for dinner at a burger place. When the youngest, who's about 8, started climbing a stone wall in the restaurant, I told him he couldn't do that. He asked why not.

What I should have said:  "Because it's not built for climbing, and it's not safe."

What I actually said: "Because you might crack your head open, and people will think the blood is ketchup and start dipping their fries in it."

Exhibit B: I was recently watching a Harry Potter movie with another friend and her two kids, and one of them asked if magic was real. 

What my friend said: "Well, not in the sense that you see it in the movie, but there are moments in your life that can feel magical."

This is, arguably, the best damn answer in the history of motherhood, especially off the cuff. 

What I would have said: "No."