My grandson looked over my shoulder as I read the morning newspaper. “Why are those girls crying?” he asked. I quickly turned the paper over. How to explain sexual assault to an eight-year-old? “They’re upset about something bad that happened to them,” I said and looked through the paper quickly to find a story that might satisfy his news curiosity and be more appropriate.
An article about a state park and a potential golf course development seemed to suffice and my grandson grasped the potential environmental issue and said he hoped there would be protests against the golf course.
It’s hard to share the constant bombardment of news with little kids.
He and his sister had slept over. He’d already plowed through half the bag of library books I borrowed, and we’d heard enough “Knock Knock” jokes to last a year or so. Then at one point, I heard them humming lyrics from Hamilton. Their parents, who saw the show, play the music in the car and the kids know several songs. My grandson performed what he called an entire sentence, mimicking the rapid pace and diction of one of the lines. They asked if they could go see the show. No, I told them, they’re too young for some of the lyrics (profanity), and I wasn’t sure that they’d really understand the story. Instead, we’re planning a trip to see The Lion King. I think for now that satisfied them.
After a pancake breakfast, we took them to the Liberty Science Center, newly renovated and touting its planetarium, the fifth largest in the world. Before the show, we had time to tour some exhibits. Climbing the stairs to the second floor, we saw a staff member demonstrating how sound effects objects. That staff member happened to be our son’s former high school biology teacher.
The planetarium show, “To Worlds Beyond” toured the planets and solar system, posing the question about life beyond our Earth. I told the kids that most likely in their lifetimes, they’d be able to travel into space, as easily as they now visit their other grandparents in Detroit. I wonder about life beyond Earth, and sure hope that they’re taking better care of their planet and inhabitants than we do.