“Why is the roller parked there daddy? Where is it going next? When will it flatten roads again? What will it do after that?”

Just driving into our development triggers the rapid-fire questions that come fast now from Adam. Sometimes it’s adorable. Other times, I want to turn around and simply give the response my mom would give me when she reached the end of the line with our questions: “Because y is a crooked letter.” I don’t, but I had to shake my head and try not to laugh when he repeated just that phrase to me a few days later, while I was getting him dressed in the morning. When I asked him where he learned it from, I wasn’t at all surprised that my mom had said it to him. He thought it was funny.

Even though I may have gotten that answer from my mom growing up, I’ve tried as hard as I can to not use that or the standard, “Because I said so.” I know it is ok if I do and I know sometimes it could be the easiest way to end those seemingly endless questions, but I don’t want to discourage my boys from questioning the world around them, or their desire to learn. I just never realized how many questions a child could find and how exhausting trying to answer them all can be. And if you’re thinking, just give simple answers, you can only give so many of those before you run out. Sure, Brandon asked a lot when he was 3, but Adam takes it to a whole new level.  

Since Adam found his words, which seemed to take a bit longer in his development, he hasn’t stopped using them. He talks all the time. And with it, his curiosity has only continued to grow. Maybe the fact that he was born just before Covid, and his first 18 months of life were so sheltered inside the house, is part of it. I’m not sure. But our little Adam questions every aspect of everything. He wants to know all about the world around him lately. 

It’s not enough to drive past the tractors at the entrance to the development and see them sitting there. Just the idea that they are there leads to a long list of questions that have his little brain moving faster than the words can come out of his mouth. Everything down to the color of the construction equipment is open to questions.

I don’t think he’s trying to test me to see what I don’t know, though I know sometimes he questions because he is trying to be defiant to establish his own boundaries. I think for the most part he genuinely wants to understand. And while I want my kids to be curious and ask questions, it would be nice if they took the time to consider the answers too. 

(I know that’s asking a lot.) I think Adam’s brain is just so busy thinking about everything that he moves onto the next question before he can even finish asking the first one. 

So sometimes I try to turn the question back around on him to see what he is thinking. That leads to what sounds like a stream of consciousness of thoughts floating around in his head. If I asked him what he thinks happened to the roller: “Hmm…I dunno. Maybe it will go to Diggerland, Daddy? Or maybe it’s hungry and is going to get lunch? What do you think it will have for lunch, Daddy?” Fair questions kid, but how do I even respond to all of them? And then, as quick as we get through those thoughts, he sees an airplane in the sky and we are on to, “Why are they flying and where are they going?”

I love being able to interact with him, and I’m fascinated as I watch him develop. At the same time, I don’t want my tone and words to get shorter, thinking he is being defiant instead of recognizing his curiosity. Even when it is hard to tell the difference. I really want to understand why he is asking. If I can answer THAT question, I can probably do better answering his.

Read More “Making Time” by Jason Springer


August 2023
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