On the way back from the library today, my 6-year-old and almost-5-year-old boys were busy chatting as usual. I’m not sure what kicked off the following conversation. As is often the case, the line of questions and comments sort of manifested out of nowhere… and then, appropriately, concluded there.
Donovan: How many people are there in the world?
Me: Between 6 and 7 billion people.
Michael: Including us?
Michael: Including trees?
Me: Ha ha. No, trees aren’t people, are they?
Michael: I know, I was just joking.
Donovan: Trees are alive though.
Me: Yes, trees are alive, and in fact, they are essential to our survival. We need trees. We need to protect them and plant them and take care of them.
Michael: Except the dead trees. We have to cut them down. That’s sad.
Me: Yes, that’s true. But trees don’t have souls like people do.
Donovan: Yeah, trees have bark.
Michael: That makes me come up with a joke. I didn’t know trees were dogs (giggling to himself); I mean seals (giggling more).
Donovan: I didn’t mean they say bark. I meant the bark that they are made of — it’s wooden.
Donovan: Mommy, can we watch Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer when we get home?
Michael: No, of course not, that is a Christmas movie. It is not Christmas. We don’t watch Christmas movies unless it’s Christmas time.
And that’s when Donovan started to cry and complain the rest of the way home. He explained that we should be able to watch any movie we want any time.
Donovan: If you trust me and let me watch it after lunch, I will not ask to watch it until Christmas. Okay? Is that a deal?
Me: Donovan, let’s just wait until it’s the right season for that movie. We don’t put up our Christmas tree until Christmas, right?
Donovan: Yeah, but I don’t want to sit and watch the Christmas tree.
And all I could think of was this video I had once seen about crazy, eco-radical hippies wailing over trees.
As I write this, my boys are watching Rudolph in the middle of June.