In our family, we tend to encourage questions. And when we answer them, we don’t dumb them down. While we don’t try to get too detailed and over their heads, we want to answer their questions honestly and factually.
At dinner tonight, Mister Man told us he knows all the shapes.
Mister Man: There’s squares, and circles, and triangles, and parallelagrams, and rhombuses and rectangles and cubes and —
Daddy: Actually, cubes aren’t shapes, they’re polyhedrons since they’re three dimensional. Shapes are things that we can draw on paper while polyhedrons are things that have length and height and depth.
Mister Man: Oh. So what’s another thing a circle can make?
Me: Well, a sphere is one.
Mister Man: What does a sphere look like?
Me: Well, a sphere is a three dimensional circle. A cylinder is another kind of solid circle.
Daddy then ran into the garage and came back (keep in mind, we’re in the middle of eating dinner, Angela’s yummy Garlic Lime Chicken) with a can of diced tomatoes and a basketball to demonstrate the two kinds of circular solids.
After running through the differences and how they’re alike but different and which one is a cylinder and which is a sphere, I thought Mister Man got it.
Me: You’re right. You can tell that the can is a cylinder because from the side it looks like a rectangle, but the top makes a circle.
Mister Man: Well yeah, but so does the bottom.
Me: Very true. You’re one smart cookie.
Mister Man: No, I’m not.
Me: What are you then?
Mister Man (quite indignant): I’m a kid! No one is a cookie!
Yeah. I’m in trouble. He’s already thinking outside the box and beyond what he’s told. I can’t wait for the day he truly outsmarts me. And figures out that he’s outsmarted me.