“Hey Sarah, can I have a bag?” asked my 9 year old neighbor.
“For what?” I asked trying to figure out what kind of bag she needed.
“For the dead bird.” she replied.
Oh, I let all of the neighborhood kids call me by my first name, but that probably wasn’t your question, was it? It wasn’t one of my questions either.
“Wait,” I looked at her. She looked serious. My daughter was standing next to her and nodding like this was a reasonable request. “What dead bird and why do you need a bag?”
“The one under your swing set in the back yard and so I can take it to school.”
While I appreciated her directly answering all of my queries her replies only led to more questions.
“There is a dead bird under the swing set?”
Both children nodded.
“And you want to take it to school?”
“I’m not sure that is legal.” I told the girls, and I am not. While it might not be in the school board manual I am certain that it is frowned upon to bring dead birds to school and plus children are often deterred by the idea of breaking laws.
Of course, this isn’t one of those children. I have known this one since she was three and she isn’t deterred by much. I like this kid a lot even though she asks me bizarre questions and is often trying to talk me onto things that aren’t good ideas. She would have been my best friend if we were in in high school together.
“It is legal.” she said authoritatively. “Someone else in my class brought in a dead bird already this year.”
“What?” How could this be? “Who is your teacher? Someone brought in a dead bird for show and tell?”
“Well technically,” she said with her hands on her hips (see why I like this kid?) “technically it was in an egg, but yes a dead bird.”
“Leanna,” I said. “Taking a dead bird to school is totally messed up. Plus, if I send you home with a dead bird your parents will think I have gone crazy. No, you may not have a bag and you may not take the bird to school.”
“Please?” she countered.
“I will make you a deal. Go ask your mom or your dad and if one of them tells me that it is okay for you to bring a dead bird home I will give you a bag.”
She knows at this point that the game is over. Her parents are reasonable people and would never, ever let her take a dead animal to school. Or at least not one they found in my yard. We don’t even know what killed it.
“Can we use your iPad to make a movie?” she asked.
“No.” I said. “But you can use use Claudia’s flip camera. This made them happy and they went and got the flip and then went back outside.
“And please don’t touch the bird! That bird is no more!” I yelled behind them. I know that seven and nine year olds don’t get Monty Python references, but if they don’t make sense I don’t have to either. They already look at me funny, I figure I may as well give them just cause.
Not that I wake up in the morning making lists of conversations that I think I will have on any given day, but I never saw that one coming. I always find it fascinating when I remember that sometimes we have to do a little bit of parenting with other people’s kids when they are our house.
What is the weirdest question someone else’s kid has asked you?