“Where did the first humans come from?” Miss5 asked me and Tracey in the car this week. The three of us were on our way back from the Sunshine Coast.
It was one of those moments you wait for as a parent. When you get to educate your kids about something you actually understand instead of faking it with maths or stupid proper grammar rules.
I was ready for this too. I’ve read On The Origin of Species, watched all the documentaries and once spent a weekend hunkered over an awesome National Geographic article on whales.
“Well, modern humans came from other humans who were a little bit different,” I started, then wondered if that was a little vague. I tried a different tact. “Every living thing on Earth is related. Like monkeys and gorillas and humans have distant relatives back down the food chain.”
Again, I wondered if I was making any sense. Tracey helped me sort that one out.
“Food chain?” she questioned.
“I meant…,” I couldn’t think what, “something else.”
“You want me to try explain it?” Tracey asked me. “I’m guessing you must be tired. Or on drugs.”
“You know how everyone is a little different?” I said, ignoring my wife and ploughing ahead. “Like some have red hair and some have big noses? Well, sometimes those changes stick. Like a dog might have a longer tail than other puppies but his puppies have longer tails too and suddenly after a long time all puppies have longer tails.”
“Do you want me to drive so you can Google?” Tracey asked me.
“I got this,” I assured her, despite it looking increasingly like I didn’t. I decided to start at the other end and work my way forward. “So a long time ago a fish came out of the water and started to hang around on the land and slowly his kids and their kids changed and got legs and arms and-”
“It’s just I know what evolution is,” Tracey cut in, “and I have no idea what you’re saying.”
But I was saved by a little voice from behind us.
“So humans come from animals?” Miss5 asked me.
“Yes, they do!” I said, with a ‘shove that where the sun don’t shine‘ glance over at my wife. Followed by me pointing my thumb into the space behind us and hissing, “She’s a genius!”
I mean five years old and she’s totally got evolution sussed out. I know adults who don’t, or won’t, understand it. And made all the harder for working it out from my dog’s breakfast of an explanation too.
However, an overheard conversation today where Miss5 was sitting with Nanny’s dog, Bronson, and feeding him dog biscuits would seem to indicate I might have confused her a little on how the whole evolution thing works.
“Good news,” she whispered excitedly, shoving another treat into his eager mouth, “it won’t be long now and you’ll be a human!”
Raising a family on little more than laughs