The existentialist Six-Year-Old

A week or two ago, The Six-Year-Old caught a rather impressive cold. One night at bedtime, The Six-Year-Old snuffled up to her father. “Daddyo, what can I do to get rid of this cough?”

Daddyo: “I’m afraid the only thing that will get rid of that cough is time.”

Mommyo, anxious for the bedtime process to get underway: “And rest.”

The Six-Year-Old, confusedly: “That doesn’t make any sense.”

Daddyo, supportively: “But rest lets your body do things like fight infections.”

The Six-Year-Old, enlightenedly: “OH! I thought you said ‘dressed.'”

Daddyo: “Yeah. That wouldn’t make any sense.”

The Six-Year-Old: “But it would make more sense than a jump rope.”

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About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book, Did Dinosaurs Have Belly Buttons?, is currently planned for release in 2018. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Ten-Year-Old at, chatting about books and the writing life at, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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