I don’t know about yours, but my kids have a mental block when it comes to differentiating between cities, counties, states, countries and such. Only a couple of years ago, if I asked Julia what city she lived in, she would answer, “Texas.” Every now and then she would say, “Tarrant NET!” On our way to Branson last spring, Brighton, our household’s only TRUE Texan, asked this, “Is Missouri in the United States of Texas?” These absurd questions and answers drove me to draw something resembling a chart, using that term loosely, from the classic, Concentric Circles of Concern. The chart goes from our cul de sac address to the outermost unknown galaxies. It may sound impressive but picture loose leaf college-ruled notebook paper marked up with a No. 2 pencil. While I thought it was a grand idea, just short of a moment of genius, it has only been semi-effective.
While taking Julia to ballet a couple of weeks ago, I made a quick call to TJ to see how she was faring with her four children on the road trip to New Mexico......by herself. Before I could hit “end”, Brighton’s questions started. First, we had to straighten out the mix up of what kind of skiing they were up to. With our chilly weather, water skiing just wasn’t adding up. He knew I had spoken with her during breakfast so he began pondering the idea, out loud, about how long she and the kids had been in the car. “Were they still in Texas?”, “Were they still in the United States of America?”, “Have they had a Blizzard yet?”, “What movies have they watched?”, “Do Bran and Hud get to play their DS’s in the car AND at their Grandmother’s?” Whoa--- the teacher in me backed up-- “still in the USA?”
I looked at him in the rear view mirror. “Brighton, they are driving to NEW Mexico. You know, the state beside Texas.”
“Oh, okay. Well, Mom? What’s wrong with the OLD Mexico?”