Marin came downstairs yesterday, pausing for a second on each riser as she does when she’s just waking up. I’m on my computer at the bottom the stairs- I hear her step by step by step before she appears. I take a couple big sips of coffee and try to finish typing whatever thought I was trying to think.
Typically, she takes this time to figure out which episode of Wild Kratts she wants to watch first thing based on what will best suit her daily quest for superior animal knowledge. This morning was different.
The first words out of her mouth were, “Mom, on the 4th of July, are we celebrating the Earth’s birthday or America’s birthday?”
“Hi, honey. America.”
“Oh. Well then, England will be celebrating too because they speak English.”
“Actually, no. Even though we both speak English, they’re a different country than we are. They celebrate their country on a different day.” I hesitated for a second but then went on with… “In fact, July 4th is our celebration of being separate from them.”
“A long time ago, people from England came here. Some wanted to stay and live here. After a while, they wanted to be in charge of themselves and be their own country. That’s when the presidents started.”
“Was that before dinosaurs or after?”
“Was that before Jesus?”
“No, after Jesus but before Papa was alive. Do you remember hearing about George Washington, the first president? He was there.”
“Oh, yeah. George Washington. How do you get to be your own country?”
“Unfortunately, there was a fight about it.”
“Well, Jesus and Martin Luther King said that the people shouldn’t fight and we should be nice to each other.”
“Yes, it’s true about Jesus but Martin Luther King wasn’t alive yet.”
“Were you alive?”
“Nope, if Papa wasn’t alive, I definitely wasn’t alive yet.”
“Well, I didn’t get to go to your wedding because I wasn’t alive yet.”
“Ok, well. Can you get my milk? I want to watch Bubble Guppies.”
She lost interest before I even got a chance to share the ins and outs of the Brexit vote I’d learned from John Oliver.
Having a curious kid (which is to say “having a kid”) means toggling between turning to the wonders of Google and trying to impress them with my own knowledge. It’s a constant choice between finding the right answer and getting an answer that, when later proven wrong, can be reasonably blamed on someone else.
For your curious kid or just to feel smart at your barbeque later today, here are 8 fun facts about Independence Day courtesy of kidskonnect.
- On the 4th of July, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress. Independence Day honors the birthday of the United States of America and the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
- The Declaration of Independence was actually a letter to King George that had been written on July 2 by Thomas Jefferson. It was a formal explanation of why the Continental Congress voted to declare independence from Great Britain. It was meant to justify a revolt against the British, with a list of charges against the British king.
- The main problem is that the colonists were angry they were being taxed by the British government, and they had no vote or voice in the decisions that affected them.
- The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men representing the 13 colonies. The moment the declaration was signed it marked the beginning of all-out war against the British.
- The first signature on the Declaration of Independence was John Hancock’s. The myth is that he wrote his name large so that Kind George would be able to read it without his glasses.
- Three U.S. presidents actually died on July 4. Two of them passed away within hours of each other on July 4, 1826: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. These two men had been political rivals and then friends later in life. The other President was James Monroe, who died July 4, 1831. One US President, Calvin Coolidge, was born on July 4.
- In 1870 the Congress made the 4th of July an unpaid holiday for federal employees. In 1941, Congress declared 4th of July a paid federal holiday.
- The first public Fourth of July event at the White House occurred in 1804. The first Independence Day celebration west of the Mississippi occurred at Independence Creek and was celebrated by Lewis and Clark in 1805. Today, the 4th of July is a day of picnics and patriotic parades, a night of concerts and fireworks, and a reason to fly the American flag.