Sunday, May 11, 2014

Questions (Happy Mother's Day)

Answering questions can be exhausting.

I'm not talkin' SAT questions or anything like that. That's cake.

I'm talkin' preschooler questions. Now that's tough!

I'm writing this post from the point of view of a SAHM. (That's a Stay At Home Mom, if you didn't know. Why does the internet love acronyms so? IDK.) But I think all parents should be able to identify with it! But really, anyone who has spent any significant amount of time (like, longer than thirty seconds) around some preschool-age children should be able to relate to this – at least a little bit.

The following conversation didn't actually take place... but it could have – any day of any week this year. I'm just drawing from experience here. (Names have been changed to protect the identities of the innocent.)

Preschool Boy (looking at a picture in a book) - "Is this a shark?"

Mom (aka Answer Factory) - (glancing at the book) - "Yes."

Preschool Boy - “What kind of shark is it?”

Answer Factory - (looking at the book more closely) – “This says it's a mako shark.”

PB - “A mako shark!? Hahaha... That's funny, right mom?”

AF - (smiling) “Sure.”

PB - “Then why aren't you laughing?”

AF - (forced) “Ah... ha ha ha.”

PB – (apparently satisfied by my AF's fake laughter) “What do mato sharks eat?”

AF - “MaKo. I don't know what they eat... maybe they eat little boys!”

PB - “What? Mom! Are you joking me?!”

AF - (chuckling for real this time) “Yeah, I'm just joking y – I mean, I'm just teasing you.”

PB - (smiles) “So what do they eat?”

AF - “Well, I guess they eat-”

PB - “What? What do you guess they eat?”

AF - “PB, you need to wait until I finish my sentence. Don't interrupt, okay? I think they eat-”

PB - “What's a sentence?”

AF - “A sentence is a bunch of words put together. Please remember not to interrupt. I guess they eat fish.”

PB - “What eats fish?”

AF – (getting exhausted now...) “What? What were we just talking about?”

PB - “Oh! Sharks!”

AF - “Yes.”

PB - “Mom! Why do sharks eat fish? Why?”

AF - “Dude, I'm right here – you don't have to yell for me. I don't know. That's just how God made them I guess.”

PB - “Why?”

AF - “Why do you eat sandwiches?”

PB - “Oh. Because I'm hungry.”

AF - “Well, I suppose that's why sharks eat fish. Because they're hungry.”

PB - “Okay. Is it snack time now mom?”

AF - “Not yet.”

PB - “Why not!? I'm hungry!”

AF - “But you just ate breakfast! How could you be hungry already? Why don't you go play for a while?”

PB - (whining) “I don't have anything to play with. What can I do, mom?”

AF - “How 'bout you build a big train track for me.”

PB - “Nooo. Trains are boring!”

AF - (seriously?) “Pick another book then.”

PB - “enhhh... Okay. Will you read it to me?”

AF - “Sure. Just let me finish washing these dishes up.”

PB - “Can I have a snack first?”

AF- (sigh)

Time elapsed: 5 minutes, max. Do you know how many minutes there are in a day? One thousand, four hundred and forty – that's how many! (And no, you can't subtract night-time minutes. They're fair game too – sometimes, anyway.) Plenty of time for lots more questions!

Whew. I'm worn out already. (You know... theoretically.)

All kidding aside... I really do want my kids to be curious and ask questions. Even if it can be rather tiring. It's how I know they're learning. And noticing things about their world. And it keeps things interesting, too!

As they say, kids will be kids. Preschoolers will be preschoolers. So let them be! They're not going to get a second chance to be three or four years old. Love them. Answer their questions (as best as you can!). Hold them when they're sitting still. Put down the smart phone. Turn off the TV. Color a picture. Build an epic couch-cushion fort. Be patient. Teach. Forgive. (And sometimes, fellow SAHMs - get out and spend some time with people to whom you do not have to explain why one shouldn't play in the trash can or climb on the backs of couches. It is valuable for the preservation of your sanity.)

Don't forget Mother's Day! Go ahead and thank your mom for – among other things – answering your (many) questions. ;o)

Thank you Mom!

"Honor your father and mother..."
-Ephesians 6: 2a

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