Dad, where do babies come from? They are dropped off at the hospital by storks flying through the sky—how else do you explain some of the goofy names some kids have? Storks have weird taste.
Dad, how does Santa get into a house if it doesn't have a chimney? That's easy, he uses a key that parents hide under the doormat to come through the front door. If the parents forget, he just picks the lock with Rudolph's antlers.
Dad, why do I pee sitting down but you pee standing up? It's because they don't make Dora potty seats in my size.
Dad, why do people like "The Mentalist"? No one knows.
And so on. It's a Dad's job to answer these questions earnestly, in a way your kids can understand and with an answer that will get you into the least amount of trouble when one day they figure out that you are lying. Of course, then you must eventually answer the question, "Why were you lying?"—to which the correct answer is, "You're grounded."
But no matter how hard you prepare for those curveballs, eventually you're sweet little angel will throw you a changeup. Allow me to demonstrate with an actual conversation that took place in my house last week between my eldest daughter Ella and me.
Ella: Dad, where are your boobs?
(Yes, she actually said it. And, like any intelligent, thoughtful Dad, I pretended not to hear it and quickly changed the subject.)
Me: So Ella, you're what, three now? I was thinking it's about time we got you a pony.
(I wear my panic well.)
Ella: Dad, I said where are your boobs?
In every Dad's moment of weakness, he does one of two things: 1) tells the truth or 2) fakes a heart attack. Unfortunately my daughter mistook my fake heart attack for a sneeze (my high school drama teacher would have been so disappointed in me.) So I sucked it up and went with the truth—which led to this, nearly verbatim, conversation:
Me: Well hun, I don't have boobs.
Ella: Why don't you have boobs?
Me: Because I'm a boy.
Ella: Boys don't have boobs?
Me: No, boys don't have boobs.
Ella: But mom has boobs.
Me: She's not a boy, she's a girl.
Ella: So only girls have boobs?
Me: Yes, only girls have boobs. Can you stop saying boobs?
Ella: I don't have boobs. Does that mean I'm a boy?
Me: No, you're a girl.
Ella: Then where are my boobs?
Me: You don't have them yet. One day when you get older you will get boobs.
Me: When you're older. Much, much older.
Ella: How will I know when I'm getting boobs?
Me: When I start to carry a baseball bat around the house.
Ella: Does that mean that when you're older will you finally get boobs, too?
Me: I hope not.
Ella: Maybe you can ask Santa for some boobs?
Me: That's OK. I've already asked Santa for enough.
Ella: Well, I can ask him for you.
Me: You don't have to do that.
Ella: I don't mind. I have room now that I can cross pony off my list.
OK, so I'm not the best at answering the tough questions now, but as the years go on I know I'll get better. At first I wasn't the best at changing diapers either, but now my wife brags to others that I'm "not terrible" at it. Hopefully one day I can be "not terrible" at answering my daughter's tough questions, too. Or, at the very least, I should, in theory, be able to fake better heart attacks.
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