May 30th, 2004 • Posted in News |

Kids’ observations on things sometimes blow my mind. This morning my daughter Ellie – she’s 5 – asked me: “Daddy, why when you get old does your face go all bumpy and you get small and have curly hair?” Obviously Ellie has seen lots of little old ladies wandering around our village. Which in itself is something of a spooky image …

After I’d finished laughing I told her that not everyone who gets old shrinks, but that left the question standing: “So why do some people shrink?” To which … I have no answer. Stumped by my 5-year-old.

She’s obsessed with death at the moment, which can lead to some confusing and awkward conversations. When my wife’s grandfather died a year ago we told Ellie he’d died and gone up in the sky (stupid thing to say, we’re not religious, but at the time it seemed logical). You can understand the confusion that hits her when she sees a graveyard. I can see her trying to work things out, the cogs in her head turning, and sometimes she almost asks me. Almost. And I figure that trying to work things out is exactly what we’re all doing all the time, writers maybe more so than many. It’s just that Ellie, and other kids, approach life’s mysteries from much purer viewpoints. They’re confused, but their solutions have such pure logic it’s sometimes hard to argue with them.

Now, I just tell her nobody really knows what happens when we die.

And you know, she’s right. Most old ladies I see *are* small, and they *do* have curly hair. I’ve just never noticed before.

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