Maybe you are one of those hyper-patient parents that field every question from your sweet angels with an understanding and thorough answer accompanied by colored illustrations, object lessons and a three act dramatization to ensure that every bit of doubt is completely obliterated in your child’s mind not only per their original inquiry but also about the absolute, undying interest you have in welcoming the curious mind of your offspring.
Me? Not so much.
I aim for monosyllabic responses. I try the reverse psychology thingy and thoughtlessly throw the question right back at them. There are even times when I (hushed whisper behind the hand) ignore their incessant questions [gasp!]. I know. Just hand over the pink slip now. I have officially been served a dishonorable discharge from the ranks of the super-mom infantry. I am no longer fit to battle on the front lines of parenting. How dare I squelch their precious little wonderments!
So I hang my head and shuffle my feet out of that prestigious establishment to the street; kicked to the curb. That’s what I am. But, hey. What’s this? There is a street full of parents just like me. They’re sitting down at The Reality Cafe gabbing over fully caffeinated grandes coffees as black as they come. They are chatting as they linger by the bargain bins at the Get Your Grip Here discount store. And I finally realize, I am not the only one!
We’re good folk. We want to do right by our kids. We don’t want to mess them up… too much. Of course, since they are going to need to drop a pretty penny on therapy sessions anyway, why not make it worth their while, right? So, we read all the right books. We subscribe to all the right blogs. And we help each other out. We ask what has worked and hope for the best.
I find an empty seat and pop myself down next to the first person who makes eye contact with me. They ask me what got me kicked out. I tell them my sob story. After the compulsory pat on the back some suggestions come from one of the dads. We start a downright brainstorming session right there at the table. And I am feeling a bit better. I am feeling like I might actually be able to find some sanity in the midst of all this.
True story! Well, almost. There was coffee. But there were no discharge papers. It was just me and my husband. The brainstorming session did take place, even though we were interrupted about eight times by, you guessed it, questions from the kids! He did the math. Averaging fifteen questions an hour per kid, we have five, during the awake hours when they are not in blessed dreamland which is roughly fifteen hours a day makes 1,125 statements that begin with Mama and end with a big fat question mark demanding a response of some sort from yours truly.
Want to know what some of the ideas were? Want to know what we came up with deal with the hundreds of questions that come flying at us like Nerf darts every. single. day.?
Ok. I’ll tell ya.
1. Change your name from Mama to an undisclosed code name. Change the code name daily.
2. Make them earn their answers. For every chore done off of a prominently posted list they can ask one question. Or better yet, flat out cash. A dollar a question.
3. Delegate all answering to the oldest child.
4. Rotate the answering of questions between carefully selected intimidating people like: the security guard at the bank on the corner, their school principal, or the dentist.
5. Ration questions., You get three a day. No more.
6. Make them whisper the question to themselves loud enough for themselves to hear it thus requiring themselves to think if themselves might actually be able to find an answer to that question for themselves.
7. All questions must be submitted in written form. Allow 7 to 10 days for a response. Answers NOT guaranteed.
8. Give them all a magic eight ball and tell them that you have full confidence that whatever answer the ball tells you is the one they need to hear at that moment.
9. Set up one of those cool clicky spinny things like they have on the game shows to have them spin for an answer.
10. Just say yes to everything.
11. Just say no to everything.
12. Duct tape.
You do understand that I love my kids. You do understand that most of the time I give them intelligent answers to their questions. And there are times when their questions amuse, challenge, astound and enlighten me. I don’t want them to stop asking questions. Questions are good, they help us learn, yeah, yeah, yeah, blah, blah, blah. I get all that. It’s just that in those rare moments of solitude and silence a prominent thing that raises to the surface of my thankfulness tank is the fact that I am not required to answer any of my beautiful childrens’ fabulous questions.
And I just felt like you should know that today. Thank you.