Sometimes my boys, ages six and three, ask hard questions. Not just questions about where babies come from, but questions I never could have anticipated or prepared for, questions that I either lack the expertise to answer or that lead me to unexpectedly dark places. I present five of these questions, in scenes.

Scene One

Amusement park, end of long day. Boy, age 6, sits on bench eating Dippin’ Dots, while Mom stands anxiously near him.

Six-year-old: (reads side of Dippin’ Dots bowl, tipping it dangerously) Ice cream of the future. How do we know the future will be in space?

Mom: Uh, we don’t. It might. People, for a while, thought that we might be able to live in space. So maybe in the future we would live there. And some people do live there right now.

Six-year-old: How many?

Mom: (thinks about International Space Station but confuses it a little with Biodome, the Pauly Shore film about living in a self-sufficient dome in the desert) Like, maybe five? Or seven.

Six-year-old: Why?

Mom: They’re just trying it out.

Six-year-old: Why?

Mom: Just in case things don’t work out on Earth.

Six-year-old: WHY WOULD THINGS NOT WORK OUT ON EARTH?!! (Dippin’ Dots scatter everywhere)

oops(-via)