"What?!? I don't get it," Bumblebee was snuggled up in my lap and is now scrunching up her eyebrows at my book.
Don't worry, it's an adult book, but not adult content! I'm reading "The Hundred Year Lie" and have hit the chapter on vitamins. I think I need to refrain from commenting out loud and reading random passages to my husband, at least in the hearing of little ears.
"At the level of molecules seen under an electron microscope, synthetic and natural vitamins may look similar to some chemists, but they don't assimilate the same way in the human body."
The above sentence is a direct quote from the page she's scratching her head over.
"What do they mean?" Bumblebee asks again. Hmm. How do I put that in seven year old speak?
"Well," I try, looking over the preceding paragraphs for guidance, "they take cornstarch and corn sugar and mix it up with chemicals until it looks like vitamin c under the microscope. And that's called synthetic, or fake, vitamin c. They did a study that says even though some synthetic, or fake, vitamins look the same under a microscope, they don't work the way vitamins in our food work."
She sits and thinks for awhile.
"So, they use a bunch of chemicals and make things that look like vitamins and smell like vitamins and taste like vitamins and feel like vitamins and sound like vitamins?"
"Um, yeah, essentially."
"And then they are surprised that they don't work like vitamins?"
"Yup, that's pretty much what that page is saying."
"But don't they know they're still chemicals? They aren't vitamins!"
"I know, but they look like vitamins under a microscope. So the scientists thought they'd be close enough."
"But they aren't."
"No," I acknowledge, "No, they aren't."
"I knew that," she says, "They're still chemicals. Only our food has real vitamins."
I agree with her.
"I'm seven and I'm smarter than a scientist," she ponders, "Maybe I can be a scientist when I grow up."
"That'd be nice," I tell her.
"And I'll draw my studies," she says, as if suddenly a problem is solved and everything has fallen into place.
"Okay," I smile at her. It is her life's ambition to be a "kid" artist so she won't have to grow up.
"Because an artist," she explains, "Is so busy all the time. Everyone wants pictures. Of themselves, and of pretty things. For like their windows, and their fridge, and everything! That's a lot of work. If I'm a scientist, I can still draw fun things and just maybe sell them for money."
Okay. This is priceless.
"And I can just do scientist stuff the rest of the time. Because no one wants anything from scientists. So, they aren't very busy. They just like, write books about their study and stuff. And maybe I'll draw pictures, because I'm good at drawing pictures."
I think that's a great idea.
I tell her that I hope she also remembers to think things through.
"Well, duh. I'm not going to forget that chemicals are NOT vitamins, even if I make them look like vitamins in a microscope." She tells me disparagingly.
That's my girl.
If anyone can take on the world and win, it's Bumblebee in righteous whirlwind mode.
((There was more to the conversation, and I may have gotten some of the wording slightly wrong. But I guarantee the heart of the matter is captured here.))