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“Mouse is a cat,” Mallory said this morning on the drive to school, referring to Mouse the dog. (Confused yet?)

“How so?” I asked.

“She likes to jump up on tables, like cats do.”

“But Mallory, she can’t be a cat,” Phoebe said. “Her parents were both dogs, so she has to be a dog too.”

“I know she’s not really a cat,” Mallory said, “but she acts like a cat.” Then she asked: “When did Mouse’s mom and dad get married?”

“They’re not married, honey,” I said, “they’re dogs.”

“Yeah, but don’t you have to be married to have a baby?”

“Well, people do,” I said [not adding: in most cases]. “But dogs don’t get married.”

“Then how does the mommy dog get pregnant?”

“Well, they mate,” I said.

“Ewwww!” the girls shrieked in unison.

“It’s what has to happen,” I said.

“Gross,” Mallory said. Then: “Where did they go?”

“Pardon?” I said.

“Where did they go, on their date?”

“I didn’t know dogs could go on dates,” Phoebe added.

“No, not date. They don’t go on a date, they mate.”

“But what does that—“ Mallory began.

“Oops, here we are!” I interrupted, zooming into the carpool line, and then I started babbling unnecessarily about finding backpacks and lunch boxes and having a nice day. A cowardly move, I know. But who wants to talk about the birds and the bees and the puppies too, first thing in the morning?


aimee said…
The best questions from kids (or the worst from the mom's perspective) always happen in the car.

Good move, stalling like that. I would have done the same.

Dating dogs. I would like to see that.

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