"What's this, Mama?" This question comes up all the time, because, you know, she is two and doesn't know what most things are. And when your answer doesn't make sense to her, she repeats and repeats and repeats the question. Sometimes I lie or grossly oversimplify just to make her stop asking. A backhoe is "a big truck that digs." The little cartoon jockeys printed on my blouse are "some guys with hats."

"Who's this, Mama?" She wants to know everyone. People in pictures, on TV, in the grocery store. For now, she seems satisfied with general labels like "a lady," "a man," "the cashier," "a family." I have not yet resorted to making up actual names for all these strangers.

"Where are we, Mama?" She asks this at odd moments. Like when we are at home. "What do you mean, where? Austin? Earth?" It strikes me as a strangely existential question.

For now, thankfully, she has not asked "why?" That's when the real lies start.