Thursday, July 4, 2013

Who are we independent from again?

As a parent, I've often heard that it's wisest to be careful to give only as much information as a child is really asking for when talking about potentially complicated topics, like sex, for example. The trouble is, apparently I'm not very good about judging which topics are potentially complicated, or maybe it's just that Isabel reaches a critical mass of knowledge rather early in the game, but lately I've been finding the simplest conversations going off the rails way earlier than I would have expected. A little while ago, it was the possible instability of banks.

Now, it's Independence Day. So I come in to hear Isabel heatedly and emphatically declaring,
"Bjørn is NOT independent."
Marco: "Yes, it's you and mommy's, and James' and Bjørn's independence today."

And I'm thinking, uh-oh, of course I've been spending the last couple days emphasizing the things the kids are independent in. Isabel tends toward unnecessary dependence in things she's already mastered completely, and though a little of this is fine and even endearing, a lot can be wearing. And, well, I did say that Bjørn was not very independent, because he needed help to do lots of things (being a baby and everything).

Me: "Isabel, Daddy's talking about our country. It's our country's independence day today. It used to be a part of a different country, and now it's its own country."
Isabel says, brightly, "That's right. It used to be the United States of India, and now it's the United States of America."
(pause--me thinking, What?....oh.)
Me: "The United States did used to belong to the Native Americans, and then it belonged to England, and then we got our independence from England."
Great. Clear as mud. History majors forgive me, but that's how I explained it. She seems satisfied with it. 

And here I thought this was a nice uncomplicated holiday, even taking into account my husband's situation. After reading about Native Americans who celebrate it, and those who don't, I've thought about something I haven't before on the 4th of July. Thanks, Isabel. Even for the extra dose of guilt. :)

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