I walked into the girls’ bedroom this evening and found Clara knocking herself on the top of the head. “See,” she explained to Lydia. “It’s hard. There’s like a rock there or something and it makes it so we can’t touch our brains.”
“Ohh…” Lydia said tapping on her own forehead and crossing her eyes.
They noticed me and looked up, both continuing to explore their foreheads with their knuckles.
“What’s going on?” I asked, although it was quite obvious. They had destroyed everything else in the house and now they were trying to tear apart their own brains, out of sure animal boredom. I could almost see their soft pink brains cowering behind their tired eyes, trembling like little pigs in a brick house.
Clara began playing her eyebrows like a piano. “What is this here, Daddy?”
“No,” she said quickly. “Not my eyebrows.” She rolled her eyes like I was talking nonsense. “What is this hard thing behind my eyebrows? Is it rocks?” She was completely serious.
“Not for most people. But for you guys, it is probably rocks, yes.” It had been a very long day.
She narrowed her eyes at me. Her sister was still laying on her back slowly punching herself in the face. “You don’t know what it is, do you?” Clara challenged.
“Oh for goodness sake, yes I know why your head is hard. You don’t have rocks in your head. Think about it for a second. Don’t just feel your forehead. See if you can find any holes in it anywhere.”
I leaned back against the wall and watched as she meticulously combed the surface of her face searching for soft spots. “It stops around my eyes…” she said. “And my nose is soft and of course has holes in it.” I waited. “There’s a hole under my chin I guess…” she felt inside her mouth. “Is it my gums?”
I sighed and shook my head. Mentally I was trying to figure out if I could get a refund on all of her afternoons spent watching The Magic School Bus. “You can do this Clara.”
“There’s a hole in the back, and then bumps that go down my neck,” she said to herself “But those are my bones…” her words tapered off. Suddenly her brain turned the lights on behind her eyes. “Oh, wait! Bones! I forgot I had bones inside of me!” She shook her fist in the air triumphantly.
“Good job, Clara.” I nodded. “Your brain is inside a special bone called a skull.”
She sighed in exasperation, “Yeah Dad. I know what a skull is. I just forgot what bones were. I thought maybe they were rocks or something.” She fell back on her pillow.
Lydia now had a finger from each hand pinching her nose from both sides. “I think maybe there’s bones in our head.” She said to herself through a pinched nose. As usual she had not been actively listening to our conversation. Which is probably for the best in most cases, given the amount of misinformation that Clara regularly shares.
I lifted Lydia into her bed and then pulled the covers tight over both of them. They were already sound asleep a few minutes later when we went to check in on them.