This morning on the way to preschool, Sapphire started talking about how she doesn’t like tomatoes. I wondered what brought that up, but it was no surprise to me that she doesn’t like them. She has never been a fan.
She went on to ask me if other people like tomatoes and I answered that I think a lot of people do like them, but a lot of people don’t, too.
“Do you like them?”
“I do like them, but I wouldn’t say they are my favorite food.”
“Mom, I don’t mean the kind you eat. I mean the ones that can break houses.”
She then started talking about really big tomatoes that fall from the sky and can crush a roof. I love her imagination, so I played along. We talked about how that would have to be a really, really big tomato and how I’ve never seen one that big or heavy.
The conversation went on like that until I began to wonder again why she was so interested in humongous red fruits that could fall from the sky. This wasn’t a passing topic like so many others we touch on in the car. This was really weighing on her mind.
I asked, “Have you been reading Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs?”
“No, Mom,” she replied. “I don’t mean that kind of tomato. You know, the tomatoes they talked about on the TV?”
My mind raced for a few seconds. The kind they talked about on TV. The kind they talked about on TV. . .
We’re not talking about these:
We’re talking about these:
[One touched down locally last weekend and she heard a mention of it on the morning news the next day.]
“Oh, you mean tor-na-does,” I said.
She repeated the word.
Now that she knew we had been talking about different things, she asked again, “Do some people like tornadoes?”
I answered that I thought most people probably don’t like tornadoes, but that some people like to chase them because they think they look cool. That can be dangerous, though, I told her. [I know people also chase them to study them, but I didn’t go into that with her.]
We then talked about the fact that really big ones do not usually touch down around here and what to do if there is a tornado in your area. And I told her a story of one that touched down near where Jim and I lived in Alabama eleven years ago. I told her about going to the basement with our dog and two cats and waiting there until the storm had passed. Our house and neighborhood were completely spared, but her Granny did have a few trees land on her roof. They didn’t go through the roof and Granny wasn’t home at the time, so all was OK. Since Granny wasn’t home, her house wasn’t flattened, and no one was hurt, Sapphire thought it sounded funny that trees were on Granny’s roof.
I think the conversation allayed her fears and I doubt she’ll be so worried about tornadoes anymore, at least until she hears about another one “breaking a house”.
And I learned that a tomato is not always a tomato.