A 45-minute discussion with a 3-year-old about … volcanoes

Saturday morning, Unit and I took a 65-minute drive to a newly purchased lake house (that my parents bought) to help my dad out with some painting. The weather wasn’t ideal as the misty rain confused the hell out of the windshield wiper speed as I maintained the speed limit on I-84, I-91, I-691, and Route 8 in our stealth 1999 Chevrolet Malibu, affectionately known as “Bu-Bu.” (It’s our ‘other’ car)

We’re not even 10 minutes into the trip and I hear, “Daddy, let’s talk about something. Let’s talk about … … … volcanoes!” So volcanoes were the topic of conversation nearly the entire trip. Volcanoes. You just can’t make this stuff up. I honestly have no idea where the hell he ever even saw a volcano except when I mentioned it in passing as he “Whoooaa”‘d the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Californication album cover a few months back. He asked what the pool was filled with, to which I replied lava, and then he asked where it came from, yada, yada, yada.


Apparently, a three-year-old never forgets.

So thus began his love affair with lava and more specifically, volcanoes. The following is roughly 8% of the conversation we engaged in about volcanoes. The questions were being asked so quick he could barely catch his breath. Of course, I had an answer for everything.

  • Unit: “Daddy, is that a volcano?” (pointing to the hill on the median of the highway)
  • Me: “No, that’s just a berm.”
  • Unit: “What’s a ber… Is that a volcano?” (pointing to a mountain in the distance)
  • Me: “It could be a volcano but luckily it’s not. There aren’t many volcanoes in Connecticut.”
  • Unit: “What would happen if it was a volcano, could be drive on it?”
  • Me: “I guess we could if there was a road on it bu…”
  • Unit: “Daddy, daddy, is there a road on that volcano? Is there a road on there?”
  • Me: “No.”
  • Unit: “Oooooh, is that a volcano?” (pointing at the same mountain, just a different view since we changed orientation)
  • Me: “That’s the same mountain as before, we’re heading South now.”
  • Unit: “Daddy look, this is what a volcano does when it eeyupts.” (gestures upwards with his hands and makes  weird noise)
  • Me: “Nice bud.”
  • Unit: “Can we go in a volcano?”
  • Me: “I think we could possibly hike on a volcano since they don’t erupt too often.”
  • Unit: “We don’t wanna be on one when it eeyupts.”
  • Me: “Nope. The lava will melt everything in its path.”
  • Unit: “Even us, daddy? And Bu-Bu?”
  • Me (chuckling): “Even Bu-Bu and definitely us.”
  • Unit: “Whoa! I hope that volcano doesn’t melt us.” (pointing to the same mountain)
  • Me: “That’s a mountain.”
  • Unit: “What’s the difference between a mountain and a volcano?”
  • Me: “A volcano is a mountain but volcanoes have lava and magma inside them, and a lot of mountains don’t have that inside them.”
  • Unit: “Oh, right.”

If that was exhausting to read, try living it. Unit is as inquisitive as any person I’ve ever encountered in my life and when it’s just me and him in the car together, the questions are asked quicker than this Mike Tyson 6-punch combo. I guess it’s better than having a mute, which he basically was for the first 18 months of his life.

He’s making up for lost time I guess. In any event, it made the ride go by rather quickly.

And in case you were wondering what else we talked about besides volcanoes, it was street lights. I (made up?) that they used sunlight to charge during the day when it was light out so that at night, when the sun isn’t out, the lights would have energy to light up. He liked the idea of the sun providing energy so much he asked for his water bottle so because he “needed energy” before he got tired.

What’d you talk about this weekend?

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