This evening we left the house, and as we pulled out of the driveway Clara noticed that the lamp in the living room was still on. She became very concerned because she claimed that the batteries were going to run out before we got home. So, I explained to her that the lamp didn’t run on batteries, it was plugged into the wall.
“Oh, so it doesn’t use electricity?” She said.
“No. It uses electricity.” I glanced back and realized that as we left the house she had apparently transitioned into a very rare state of lucid learning. You can just see it in her eyes when she is actually paying attention, analyzing her world and truly retaining the information she is given in a logical and very permanent way. I wanted to take full advantage of the situation. So, I continued. “Not everything that runs on electricity runs on tiny batteries. Things that are plugged into the wall also run on electricity.” I explained. “When you plug it into the wall, you are plugging it into a connection that goes far away to a place that is kind of like a really really big battery that everyone shares.”
I glanced back and she smiled in understanding. “Oooooh.” She said, “So, It’s like an endless banana?”
“What?” I said after a moment.
“You know. Like maybe a big banana somewhere that everyone shares or something?”
The end. Because of my failed description she will now grow up thinking that lamps are powered by a giant banana somewhere outside of town.
Parenting is impossible.