"How old is the hamster?"
"Quite old, I think he's nearly 3."
"How old is that in hamster years?"
"Oh about 70 I suppose"
"When he gets to 100 in hamster years, will the hamster queen send him a telegram?"
Children ask questions like puppies chew shoes. They hurl them at Mum when she's heaving great sighs, her bloodshot eyes blinking through smudged mascara and freshly dug wrinkles as she sorts out the laundry mountain. Then they hurl more at Dad when he's longing for ... something ... worn out from blood-sucking work, jobs to do and things not working properly.
Children gleefully soak up whatever answers they can get. They hear the facts, the delivery, the emotions draped around the words and the inconsistencies with what they heard yesterday. And then they digest, ponder, and conjure up a whole new set of questions ready to launch at anyone they suspect might give them a quality answer. And on it goes, until the quick-tongued, big-eared, relentlessly inquisitive little angels are finally silenced by sleep.
"If the queen lives to be 100, will she send herself a telegram?"