Posted by: Jamie Stamm | March 13, 2009

Quenching Cera’s thirst for knowledge

I sometimes wonder how my parents raised my siblings and me without the Internet.

Because, as the mother of a precocious 6-year-old, I turn to the World Wide Web on a near-daily basis to answer a multitude of questions that I have no idea how to respond to.

Among this week’s queries (with answers, in case you need to know some day, too):

How can you tell the difference between a male swan and a female swan? A quick shout-out to the first website we visited, which informed us that male swans have a penis. Well, obviously, smart ass. The more complete answer: Male swans are slightly larger and have a larger knot on their bills.  This still doesn’t help me much when we’re looking at them at the lake, but at least now I have a scientific answer to give.

What do you call a baby rabbit? I felt a bit stupid for not being able to answer this. I know that a male rabbit is a buck and a female is a doe, but a baby rabbit? Is it a bunny? No, the answer is kitten.  Kit or kindle also are acceptable.

And my favorite:

Why is it called wheat germ if it’s supposed to be good for you? Aren’t germs bad? The germ is only part of the wheat kernel. In fact, it’s the part of the kernel involved in reproduction. Therefore, the use of the word “germ” here refers not to bacteria, but to germination. Try explaining that to a kindergartner.

My mom was (and still is) a wonderful parent, but I can hardly imagine her running down to the basement and paging through our Encyclopedia Britannica every time I had a question she couldn’t answer. In fact, I’d bet good money that she either made something up or told me to find out for myself.

So, thank you, Internet, for providing me with the resources to answer my daughter’s unending questions quickly and honestly. I enjoy quenching her thirst for knowledge – and whetting my own at the same time.


  1. Callie asked me about a year ago why I always had to look everything up on the computer (including directions – love mapquest)

  2. Imagine having 26 of them ask you random questions… I utilize Google on a daily basis! And you know Mom most certaintly made up answers!!!

  3. okay , it’s true, i did make up smart ass answers! But it didn’t make a difference did it cos you don’t remember what i said anyway!

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