Lydia interrupted my evening reading a few nights ago to ask “What is that about a parlor?”

I closed the book and looked up at her. “I’m sorry, what? The parlor? That is where it says the little boy’s aunt reads to them.”

“Yeah, why though? What is it?”

I noticed that Clara had also sat up and was looking equally suspicious on the bottom bunk.

“Well, it would be something like our living room. It’s a room with some chairs and couches where you can sit with guests and talk.”

“Oooooh!” the two girls sang in chorus. “That makes a lot more sense.”

“Yeah,” Clara went on. “I thought it was like a shed or something behind their house where they kept shovels.”

I squinted down at the book and then back at the little girl. “Why would she read the boys books in a shed?”

“I don’t know! It’s your book! I’m just trying to understand it!”

Lydia leaned over the side of the bed and hung her head into the lower bunk. “Well, that was completely different from what I was thinking. I thought it was a barber shop.”

“Oh yeah!” Clara agreed. “Like a beauty parlor. I get it now.” And then there was silence between the two of them as they watched each other for a few seconds, thinking, one still upside down. Then they said at the same time. “But why do they go to a barbershop to read to each other?”

I opened the book and placed it on my head like a hat and groaned. “I just told you. They didn’t. That’s not the kind of parlor they are talking about. This was just a living room kind of area. It’s just a room. A normal room. A room in their house where they can read books. Kind of like this room only without the beds and a decent chair and the floor wasn’t covered with Legos and Paw Patrol toys.”

Lydia rolled over so she was bending 90-degrees backward off the bed. “But the parlor is also where they keep ice cream too, right?”

Clara nodded in support of this absurd idea.

“No. What? No! It’s not an ice cream parlor. It’s just a parlor. It’s just a living room. It’s just…” I took the book off of my head and quickly turned back a page. “Oh, look at that, turns out I read the whole thing wrong. They were just in a living room. Forget I ever said the word parlor. No parlors. Only living rooms. No problems now. No confusion, right? Please, just let me finish this chapter so I can go to bed…”

This is why I read to my children. So we can get as many of these dumb conversations out of them as possible before they are released into a terrible world that is possibly less patient than I am.