Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Actual Conversations with Kids: The Sphinx and Its Nose.

The setup:  Near the end of Dr. Seuss’s Daisy-Head Mayzie book, there’s an image of a news anchor saying Daisy-Head Fever is gripping the nation.  The anchor sits in front of an array of images from around the world, including one of the Sphinx with a daisy on its head.  Reading it to my 5-year-old and 7-year-old the other day,  I was privy to the following actual conversation.


Otherwise historically accurate, this image shows
a nose on the Sphinx.  Can you believe it? 
As I read the words on this particular page, Sadie, age 5, stopped me.  Pointing to the image of the Sphinx, which in this artist’s rendition had a small, but distinct bump of a nose, she said, “Wait, the Sphinx lost his nose, didn’t he?” 
 
Clearly, she was confused by this image – though, apparently unfazed by the flower growing out of the main characters’ head on the cover of a Time magazine.  
 
“Yes, it’s gone,” I responded, wondering how the heck she knew what a sphinx was, or that the famous one in Giza, Egypt, didn’t have a nose.  (Phineas and Ferb, most likely).   
 
“Oh,” she replied, clearly dismayed the image was wrong, and that the actual Sphinx was still nose-less. 
 
Then she added, as sincere as only a five-year-old can be, “I sure hope somebody finds it.”

Laughing inside, I didn’t know what to say.  Luckily, her big sister,  7-year-old Chloe, did.  Sighing at her younger sister, she replied with typical big sister wisdom and superiority, “Sadie, if they found the nose, it would be in the newspaper.”

Duh.  C’mon Sadie.  Clearly, that would be a front page story.  Not just reported via an old drawing in a Dr. Seuss book.   And so the global search for the missing Sphinx nose goes on -- at least in the minds of my children.

In writing, they say it's important to have believable dialogue.  Thankfully, in life, the same rules don't apply.

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