(It is without question that our best family conversations occur on the car ride home from school.)

Miss Ten: Are bears in the dog family?

Mr14: No!

Me: No, bears, dogs are canines.

Miss Ten: Bears look a LOT like dogs. I think they are related to dogs.

Mr14: They aren't related. They are totally different.

Me: Well, I can see what you are saying. There are similarities.

Mr14: Bears are omnivores and dogs are carnivores.

Miss Ten: (peeved) So, eat everything too, does that make you a bear?

Me: Ha! Now here's something interesting! Today I read this great article from the New York Times about this one species of jellyfish that is able to completely regenerate itself! If it is injured or stressed, it can morph its cells back into being a baby jellyfish again! The scientist who studies it thinks that if it is fed and has the right temperature of water and doesn't get eaten, it probably lives forever! Anyway, the article also mentioned that most of human DNA is shared by the lowest, simplest lifeforms, like jellies and flatworms.

Mr14: So...we are related to jellyfish??

Me: Well, yeah, in that it seems that all living things are in some way related to all other living things.

Miss Ten: Dogs don't just eat meat! I've seen Ellie eat corn! Ha!

Me: Dogs aren't strict carnivores. They can eat other things, too.

Miss Ten: SO! They are actually OMNIVORES, like BEARS ARE!

Me: Hmm....yes, but there are also items that they can't eat that are non-meat, like chocolate and onions and grapes.

Mr14: Why would anyone give a dog an onion to begin with?

Me: I've never thought about that.

(A pause in the conversation ensues for a minute or so, as the sky darkens to night, and the November rain reflects the many car headlights on the road.)

Miss Ten: (giggling conspiratorially) Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh...Captain Cook...irony!

Me: What??

Miss Ten: Heh heh heh heh...Cook? Get it?

Me: What?? Huh? What are you talking about??

Mr14: HA!

Me: WHAT!!!

Miss Ten: That Captain Cook was killed and cooked by the Hawaiians? COOK? WAS COOKED?

(We all dissolve into horrible loud black humored giggles, and continue on our way home.)