The scene: A girls’ team walk last week. Emma is on her scooter leading the way. I am pushing Stella in the stroller and Maya is walking/sniffing/squirrel hunting along next to us while leashed around my waist.
Emma: Mom, what’s a raccoon?
Me: It’s an animal about the size of a large cat. It’s mostly black with white circles around its eyes.
Emma: What’s a skunk?
Me: It is also a black and white animal. They can spray other animals or people if they think they are in danger. Uncle Duane was sprayed by a skunk once.
Emma: He was? Was it fun?
Me: I don’t think it’s fun. It’s really smelly. He had to take a bath in tomato juice to get un-stinky.
Emma: My brother* got sprayed by a skunk once. He had to take a bath in apple juice! Ha! Ha! Ha!
Me: I don’t think apple juice works the same way as tomato juice. You would get really sticky taking an apple juice bath.
Emma: When we go to Uncle Duane’s house for Christmas I am going to ask him about getting sprayed by a skunk.
We finish our walk/scoot and there is no more skunk talk.
Scene: Matthew arrives home from work and walks in to the kitchen. I am sitting in a chair feeding Stella. Emma runs up to Matthew, stops about a foot in front of him and is waving her arms as if she is going to make a very important announcement.
Emma: Dad, Dad!
Matthew: Yes, Emma.
Emma: Dad, guess what?
Emma: Uncle Duane got sprayed by a skunk!!!
Matthew looks my direction.
I clarify this happened a long time ago when Duane was living in Chicago. You know, a very populated urban setting where this kind of thing is totally common.
*Emma has an imaginary brother named Purper.