How to explain robots to a four year old

We went to a Halloween party this year where someone had taken a big cardboard box and made themselves a pretty cool Wall-E costume. Cool until he realized that he could not get food or drink from his hands to his mouth due to the limited mobility of being trapped inside a huge cardboard box.

Based on this one point of reference Lucy jumped at the chance to watch Wall-E this weekend when it came up in discussion during the pizza and movie night movie selection. My husband and I were thrilled because Wall-E (as I’m sure you all know) contains not a single princess. We started watching the movie and this happened:

“Mom, where is Wall-E? Is he inside that robot?”

“No, sweetie Wall-E is the robot”

“What? How could he get inside the robot?”

“No, sweetie, Wall-E is the robot”

“Is he hiding in there? Will he come out soon?”

“No sweetie, Wall-E is the robot”

“Mom, I don’t understand when he is going to come out of the robot?”

“Mom, why does he have wheels – robots don’t have wheels, how does Wall-E have wheels?”

“Wall-E is a robot, robots are machines, they move I many different ways – like the car, the car is a machine that has wheels.”

“Our car is a robot? Is there someone hiding inside the car too?”

“Be quiet and watch the movie”

“Mom… ”

“Yeah?”

“When is the princess going to come out of Eve?”

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