"That's not a good noise for a bike!" Big Dog exclaimed.
"Well, that's an electric bike, it has a motor to help him get up hills," I explained.
"I guess so," I admit, but with a tinge of guilt since I have biked up this hill before and probably would have loved the extra oomph of a motor to haul my butt up the incline.
A few minutes later another bicyclist passes us, this one on a regular bike, but with no shirt.
"There you go, he's got a normal bike. And no shirt," I comment.
"And hairy arm pits! He's really hairy," says Big Dog. "I wish he'd put on a shirt. Mama, why doesn't he have a shirt on?"
"It's hot out. I'm sure he's just trying to keep cool. Biking is hard work and he's probably pretty hot right now."
Silence. I'm taking that as a sign of understanding. Then another bicyclist passes by.
"She has a shirt on. And a quiet bike. I like her best," he says.
"Yeah, I get that," I say, trying not to let my amusement show.
"That other guy, he was really hairy! He had hair all over him," he says after another pause. "I don't have hairy arm pits, you don't have hairy arm pits either!"
"No, we don't. But some people do," I say, "It isn't bad."
"Yeah, papa has really hairy arm pits." He thinks this over then adds, "I have hair on my body too, but it isn't long. You know, everyone has hair all over them."
"That's true!" I say, trying to turn this into a teaching moment. "Did you know that the hair comes out of holes in our skin and in those holes there are things that produce oil to keep out skin soft, and things to make sweat when we get hot to help cool us down? Isn't that kind of cool? Isn't it great how our bodies do so many things we don't even think about?"
"Ok," he says, as though he is humoring me a little. "Papa's hair is longer. You can really see it! It's everywhere!"
"Well, men have more body hair than women or little boys. It just works out that way."
"Oh," he says, then after another minute he adds, "Maybe he could wear a short sleeved shirt, that guy on the bike. Would that be better, mama? He could still be cool, but I wouldn't see his arm pits."
"Sure, he could do that."
"I'm glad papa doesn't do that. His arm pits are hairy too. But he wears a shirt. I love him."
"Me too. Be sure to tell him that when you get home, buddy," I say.
"I will. I'm so glad he has a shirt on." And that was that.