(WTF! Why didn’t this post?)
I’m trying to appreciate a child’s inquisitive mind. In general, I always adored people with questions. How else is one going to learn? And I always hated teachers who didn’t like questions. Lucky for me, I had only a few of those, and all of them before college.
In high school, I used to visit my swim coach and chemistry teacher all the time with random questions. Why do we have eyebrows? How does pain medication know where you’re hurt? Why does wet rock turn a different color? Why are there so many varieties of hair, skin, and eye color if genetics is so simple? Why do we have toes? Really, you think I believe that answer?
Mr. Roth was a trooper.
Now I have my own questioners. Why is that lizard gray? Why do I have a penis? Well, why do boys have penises? Is a shrimp a fish? Why is it called a killer whale? Why does Papi have a big tummy? Why do I have to go to bed? Why? Why? Why?
I am trying to be a trooper.
Now I’m wondering how parents handled these questions without the internet. But because I’m trying to encourage the questions and reading, I look up the answers. (Shrimp, by the way, are basically giant water bugs. Tasty giant water bugs.) When we go to storytime, I ask Evan what he wants to learn about now.
It’s how we found a book on snow leopards. We learned that pirates had strict rules, democracy on board, and an eight o’clock bedtime. We learned all about pirates, knights, and dragons. We’ve read books about pirates, cowboys, and ninjas. The boys are fascinated with books.
Now I’ll admit it gets exhausting to answer all the questions. Especially the questions that are meant to be stalling tactics. Sometimes they keep asking even though I don’t know the answer. Sometimes I don’t want to answer, but I remember the times I was ignored as a child and I keep answering. I’ll keep answering the same question on why we have to nap, why do we have to eat green beans, why can’t we swim when it’s lightening, why do we have a grey car. Why? Why? Why?
The other day we were searching for supplies to decorate shirts (because we just don’t have enough pirate, knight, and Tiki god clothing in our house). As we were leaving, we went down an aisle with stamps and ink pads. I stopped remembering Evan’s obsession with my stamp collection and how I keep putting off using them because I don’t have any ink pads. (Well, at least, I haven’t Looked for any ink pads.) I pulled an ink pad off the shelf and showed it to Evan, explaining what it was and how it was used, thinking in the back of my head that I’m going to regret this when he finds the ink pads before I do.
As we were heading to the cashier, an older woman stopped me. “Excuse me. I don’t usually stop parents like this.” Either a) She’s going to tell me my kids are super cute or b) One of them has pocketed something. “I’m an ex-elementary school teacher, and what you said to your son back there almost made me cry. So few parents take the time to explain things to their kids. You’re doing a wonderful job.” She patted me on the arm and left.
I looked over at the boys, who smiled back at me. Apparently I’m the only one who can see the little horns popping up from under their hair.
Fine. You win. Now what were you asking?