I was reading stories with my son when I blundered into a trap that only parents of young children can fully appreciate. As we read Humpty Dumpty, my son began asking a multitude of questions relating to the whereabouts of this egg and his purpose in being anywhere outside of the chicken coop or breakfast plate. I thought to be clever and told him of the less-known fact that the poem isn’t even about an egg, that’s just something society made up over the years. However, this blossomed into an entire conversation which left my head spinning and my son without a single doubt that his father is an idiot.
Lola, help me redeem myself in the eyes of my son! Why do we say the subject of the Humpty Dumpty poem is an egg?
A Once Clever Chap
Dear Clever Chap,
Imagine for a moment what it must feel like to be 5 years old and have a book of nursery poems thrust at you. Filled with strange words formed into silly sentences, these rhymes are filled with mayhem and madness that is incomprehensible to their young brains. Unlike most adults, Miniature Humans question the how and why of every single thing in the universe that adults take as a fact.
It’s no wonder Miniature Humans think adults are idiots.
The simple matter of Humpty Dumpty transforming into an egg is easy to solve. Originally a riddle, it was designed to make the listener focus on the words and guess the mystery object being discussed. It didn’t have to be an egg, merely any object that fit the parameters of the riddle. Adults were the intended audience until the riddle became familiar to all, where it then became a fascinating pastime for Miniature Humans to ponder.
Obviously, before television was invented with its flashy, singing cartoon animals.
Instead of focusing on the egg questions, perhaps you can direct your Miniature Human into thinking about other items that the riddle may be describing. You should, however, come up with a secret list beforehand – in case your Miniature Human asks for your help. Parenting will be much more difficult if you continue to look less than clever when your Miniature Human is present.
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