Child is teacher to the parent

All of the talk of Hurricane Earl has my son asking about other types of natural disasters.  His questions are very specific:  why are there earthquakes in California and not in New York City (where we live)??  I didn’t want to tell him that earthquakes are possible in New York and we have had tremors before.  He is only 8 years-old after all and that could freak him out.

Where to begin?  So, I start with, “Not all the land under the oceans are connected.  And deep down, the earth is actually so hot and pressurized that it is liquid.  That is even true under dry land.  Sometimes, the pieces of land bump into each other and move apart and —- ”  My eight year-old son interrupts me, and says, “Oh, you mean plate tectonics?  It also causes mountain ranges.”

Well, all right then.  I actually thought I was doing a good job answering the question, way better than my answering of the Tampax question.  Apparently, I failed to give him new information even though I was essentially making up the connection between earthquakes and plate tectonics.

I knew there would come a time when my son knew more about stuff than I did.  I didn’t realize that it would happen when he is EIGHT YEARS OLD!!!!!  But don’t tell him that earthquakes can happen in New York City; he is still a little boy and might really get scared.