She had me read a page and asked me to explain it to her. In the story, a grandmother was explaining to her granddaughter what had happened to some young women of the village - they'd been taken away to be "Spirit Girls" for the Japanese. What's that? Katie wanted to know.
Me: Well, uh...they were taken to...entertain the soldiers against their will. They were forced to go and..
Katie:You mean, like be belly dancers?
Me:(relieved) Yeah. That's it.
Katie: That's awful! (She starts crying.)
You know, I figured if the thought of forced belly-dancing was enough to set her off, I could spare her anything worse.
After all, my motto has always been, just tell them what they want to know, which is usually not as much as you think. There's that old joke, of course, about the parent who was asked, "Where did I come from?" and proceeded to explain the birds and the bees in great detail. The child listened patiently, and answered. "Toni's mom said she came from Indianapolis."
That, in turn, reminds me of the moment a year and a half ago I told Katie I was pregnant. She paused, reflected, then asked (regarding her stepfather), "Does Mike know?"