Milk, smiles and where questions come from

Gabby was in an odd mood this morning. Not in a bad way. Just odd. Normally, she’s a 300 watt bulb in a 20 watt socket. Today she appeared much dimmer. Still bright. But dimmer.

We dropped Big G off at his classroom, and started toward the stairwell to go up to Gabby’s classroom. She stopped and, pointing to a bulletin board, asked what the flower picture said. She was referring to a letter-sized poster, yellow in color, with a huge sunflower face smiling. It said across the top, “Happiness is a virus,” which I read aloud. Unresponsive but apparently satisfied, she joined me climbing the stairs.

ME: So are you happy today?


ME: So what are you? Are you sad?

GABBY: (pausing before speaking in a low monotone) I’m nothing. My mouth is gonna be how I want it to be.

Translation, I think – I’m just not smiling or frowning or laughing today. ‘Nuff said, though I did get a smile out of her before I left her class. Four hours later I returned to pick her and Big G up. I loaded them in the van and set off for the babysitter’s house. Gabby was, again, rather quiet. She sat with her head to the side leaning against her car seat, sucking her thumb. She eventually broke the silence with a question from middle-left field.

GABBY: Dad? Why do people shoot deer?

ME: (Perplexed) Why do you ask sweetie?

GABBY: (Repeating her question with emphasis) Why .. do people .. shoot deer?

ME: What made you ask this question? What made you think to ask about this?

GABBY: (Pausing) God.

ME: God made you ask this question?

GABBY: God makes you think everything, and he makes you have questions for everything.

ME: Okay. ….. (thinking before answering) … People shoot deer for food. They need something to eat.

GABBY: (pausing again before speaking in a quiet whinny voice) But daddd .. I don’t want deer to die!

ME: (not immediately answering) … Sweetie, do you remember where I told you hamburgers come from? Where do hamburgers come from?

GABBY: (not answering. I repeat the question twice before she responds in a whisper) .. I don’t know.

ME: From cows. We get hamburgers from cows.

GABBY: (starting to giggle a bit) Nooooooo we don’t. We get milk from cows.

ME: That’s right. And we get hamburgers from cows, too.

GABBY: (now laughing) Nooooo … we don’t get milk from hamburgers, silly.

And with that she snapped out the funk. And, for the record, she turns three years, seven months old Monday.


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