Monday, April 26, 2010

Hard Questions

Ciaran's been asking some tough questions lately. At first, I thought I was answering them pretty well, but the truth is, they've become increasingly difficult and I find myself struggling to provide him with knowledgeable responses.

First of all, let me define "hard questions". I'm not taking about stuff like How did I get here? or Who's this Jesus person Nona's always going on about? No, I mean impossible-to-answer questions, like demanding to know who lives in a random house that we happen to pass by.

I start out by saying, "Well, people live there." Then he wants to know, "What people?" Then I might say something like "Probably a family, a mother and father and maybe some kids." But he keeps pushing me for more and more information and refuses to except the answer I ultimately resort to, that I just don't KNOW!

Now, I am usually a very calm, relaxed person, but these constant questions are DRIVING ME INSANE! I know it's probably all very normal and that children must ask questions in order to learn, but really? "Who lives in that house?" And the follow up question to that was "Why do they live so far away?"

I've tried giving short answers and brushing the question off, distracting him, "Oh, look over there, honey! A doggie!" Or the old answering a question with another question trick. "Who do you think lives there?" But this child's insatiable curiosity will not be ignored nor is he easily fooled.

Instead, I end up repeating the same answer over and over until he finally moves on to a new series of questions at which point my breathing rapidly becomes more shallow and my left eye starts twitching like a madwoman.

And Then! There's the Then, what happened? game. It goes like this:

Ciaran: "Mom, Why is the vacuum cleaner loud?'

Me: "Because it has a powerful motor."

Ciaran: "Why does it have a powerful motor?"

Me: "To vacuum up all the dirt and dust."

Ciaran: "It vacuums up dwurt and dust?"

Me: "Yes, that's what it does."

Ciaran: "And then what happens?'

Me (keeping it nice and calm): "Nothing. After the floors are clean, we turn off the vacuum and put it away."

Ciaran: "But what if it doesn't pick up the dwurt? Then what happens?"

Me (mild frustration creeping in): "Well, it will, honey, because that's how it works."

Ciaran: "But what if it doesn't work?"

Me (taking a deep breath): "Then, we'd have to fix it."

Ciaran:  "And then what happens?"

These conversations can last ten, sometimes fifteen minutes. And depending on my state of mind, how much sleep I've had the night before, or whether or not I'm driving, I can become somewhat frazzled.

The only two child-rearing books I've read in my life "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and "What to Expect, the Toddler Years" have not prepared me for these constant questions. I'm a quiet person who likes to talk only when absolutely necessary. Perhaps it's time I revisit the Parenting section of my local Chapters and read up on the best way of handling this non-stop barrage of questions.

If I had to make an educated guess, I suppose kids ask questions repeatedly like this not only to learn, but for some kind of reassurance. I remember when he first started talking and he'd hear a louder-than-usual sound he'd say "Noise? Noise?" over and over and I'd have to keep talking to him about the noise until he felt better about it.

After that "What Happened?" became his catch phrase. If you so much as raised your voice slightly, dropped something or even sneezed, he'd come running over asking "What happened? What happened, Mommy?" And again, I'd have to convince him every time that no, the world was not coming to an end. I actually got really freaked out once when he said "What Happened?" like thirty times in a row. It was as though a fuse short-circuited in his little brain. Sometimes kids really know how to scare the crap out of you!   

Now that I've vented my frustration at my son's questioning nature,  I wouldn't be a proper Libra if I didn't look at the flip side of the situation. Often, his questions actually do make me smile and some have me biting my lip so I don't burst out laughing.  I also have to wonder, where's he picking up this stuff.  Yesterday, for example, he asked me "What's jail?" But I'd have to say, his recent inquiry "Where does piss come from?"  really takes the cake!


Finola said...

But what if it doesn't pick up the dwurt??
Soooo sweet :)

The Mayor! said...

LMAO, he's your first right?? WAYYYY more frustrating hahahahaha....I didn't get my annoying, constant talker til my 2nd rug rat, so I had some patience & tolerance built up by then. NOW, I literally hear nothing that comes out of their mouths & have an almost magical ability to tune out any & all racket by all 4 of them, while still having them totally convinced that I have heard, & participated, in every single conversation! It's a gift, I know... :-D

Can't wait for your Friday Funny!!

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