William's been obsessed with one of David's old med school textbooks for a couple of months now. It's an anatomy book, full of pictures of cadavers and cross-sections of cadavers and peeled-back pieces of cadavers. Lovely stuff. Fabulous bedtime reading.
Of course, we did not tell William that the illustration of a skeleton that he was so carefully studying was a photo of an actual skeleton from a person formerly known as alive. Why freak him out, we reasoned. Just let him look at the pictures, and he'll eventually get bored with it.
But he didn't get bored with it. He continued to look at it and ask for explanations of the various parts. Still, we figured, why let him in on what the pictures really are?
Until one day, William hefted the book into my lap so he could ask me yet another question that I could not answer. (My standard responses are either "You're asking the wrong parent, kid" or "Hmmm. Let's see what Dr. Google has to say about this.") And as I tried to figure out exactly what he was pointing to, he said very matter-of-factly, "These are pictures of dead people."
To which I stuttered and managed to stammer out a response something like, "Uh, yes. Yes, they are."
He wasn't fazed in the least. Not in the least. Hopefully this lack of squeamishness bodes well for him as a future scientist and not as a future, I don't know, axe murderer or something.
And for the record, we bought him his own children's book about the human body. He's got a good memory. I'm not really exaggerating when I say that I wonder if he might actually be able to explain the digestive system better than I could.