Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Great Debaters

Jacob and Zachary have been arguing about everything lately. Oh, I don't mean toys or who gets to be the good guy or bad guy in a game, I mean debates. It seems they are both starting to think about things and form their own opinions and this has led to some very interesting, often heated arguments.

The other night, for example, I heard them in their beds furiously discussing whether skunks are rare or not rare. The argument, it seems, revolved around the definition of rare. Zachary thought rare animals are those which are hardly ever seen. Jacob, on the other hand, thought rare was synonymous with endangered and many animals that are not seen, he argued, are not endangered. The shrew, for example, and barracudas.

And then yesterday Jacob hollered up the stairs, "Moooooooooom!" I stopped what I was doing and carried my aching body down to him to see what was wrong. "Zachary says that thumbs are NOT fingers," he said in a flush when I finally reached him. "They ARE fingers, Zack, because we have ten fingers and that means our thumbs, too." "But they are different," Zachary responded.

"They are different, but they are fingers, Zachary. We have ten fingers." I said in my most confident and knowing-mother tone. That settled it.

But then later, just out of curiosity, I Googled the question and found there is some debate. Some say the thumb is a phalange, a digit and a metacarpal, but not a finger. It differs from fingers in that it is opposable, has two phalanges rather than three, differs in proportion and stubbiness, and is attached to a more mobile metacarpus. Others say the word finger simply means a digit on the hand and so a thumb is different, but still a finger. So, I still think I'm right. It is a finger. Nah-nah, said so.