“Mommy? Why do bad people go to hell?”

I was struggling to make sense of my Chinese homework when she popped this big one.

I spun around, half-shocked, half-amused. Raeven looked at me, poised over her Legos, apparently not just playing with her toys anymore, but also contemplating religious concepts and perhaps even viable solutions for the fuel crisis and who the 5th cylon is.

“What?!” I asked, trying to keep the shriek in my voice under control.

“Why do bad people go to hell?” Rae repeated.

“Who told you that?” I questioned the question.

“Daddy.”

Now that’s even more bizarre. My atheist husband talking about sin and hell? Where’s the hidden camera?

“What? When?!” The shriek bubbled precariously.

“When we were watching All Dogs Go To Heaven? I asked him what heaven was. And then he said bad people go to hell,” she resumed assembling her blocks.

So much for screening before buying. How the heck did I not see that coming?

Stalling her with questions about the movie, I’d racked my brains frantically for a good five minutes before coming up with this answer: Maybe Daddy was just talking about the movie?

“No, he wasn’t,” was her curt reply, eyeing me suspiciously, the way cops eye you when you’re going at 15mph in a 25mph zone.

In the end, I fell back on science. I talked about the tea roses that had rotted and fallen off the branches outside our house, how they’d turned brown and become part of the ground. I recalled, not very fondly, a book we’d gotten from the library (which I’d ALSO not screened very well) about a pet dog passing on and getting buried in the backyard. And I’d saved the best for the last – dinosaurs, one of Rae’s three great loves thanks to her best friend Hayden’s influence, next to computers and Barbies.

“What happens after dinosaurs die?” I asked her. “Even T-Rexes (which are considered “bad” in her book because they eat other dinosaurs). Do they go to hell?”

“Nahhh,” she’d answered as though I was an idiot. “They become dinosaur bones!”

Of course, I had to attach a closing argument to all of this.

“You’ll find different people believe in different things. What’s important is all of you believe in the Golden Rule,” I’d summarised triumphantly, feeling a little proud of my quick thinking while reminding myself to clock my hubby one on the head the moment we reached Orlando.

It is a good thing Lokes left this morning. He would’ve had hell to pay.

Note to self: Do not leave smart children unattended with idiotic husband.