Have your kids ever asked you a question that you’d like to throw right back at them, like a hot potato? The kind of question that has you asking, “When did I become the grown up?” Kids are quizzical by nature. The world is still more mystery than fact. It’s natural that they’re going to ask the adult, the human who’s been here longer, for the answers. And I’d be happy to answer questions like, “Is there really a man in the moon?” I’ll even take, “Where do babies come from?” over some of the daily questions, the standard fare that just keep coming in like the tide. Those are the ones, the ever-repeated pop quizzes, that make me want to kneel down, look them right in the eye and say, “I don’t know. What do you think?”
- What’s for breakfast/lunch/dinner?
Every. Single. Meal. They are bottomless pits, little stomachs with mouths like Packman. There aren’t enough meals and snacks in the world to keep them satiated for more than ten minutes. Sometimes I want to ask somebody else this one and let them make mealtime happen. It’s usually the nice drive thru attendant at Chick Fil-A.
- Where’s my shoe?
How am I supposed to know and why is it always in a weird place like the recycle bin or air conditioning vent? And how does it always go missing five minutes after we’re supposed to leave the house?
- Why does your hair look like that?
Why does my hair look like what? Kids always see the yogurt/booger/greasy whirl that the mirror doesn’t seem to pick up. I need the mirror from Snow White, but nicer.
- What are you eating? Can I have some?
Aside from double-strong lattes, I never have the fun food. They’ve almost stopped asking me this one. I’ve got hurried sandwiches and the mushy bottom of the blueberry container…which is why I usually end up finishing half full bags of Rainbow Goldfish and mini Oreos.
- What are we going to do today?
I don’t know. What ARE we going to do today? There’s always a plan, but wouldn’t it be nice to let someone else hatch it? Although if it were up to them we’d be at the adoption center getting a kitten every other day.
- What’s so funny?
I’m usually laughing at something adorably weird they say like, “What’s your favorite color of purple?” Ummmm. “Purple?” But when they’re laughing it usually involves something weird on my person: unzipped pants, toilet paper on the shoe, shirt tucked in my bra. I’m actually living out every high school nightmare while little people laugh at me.
- When is daddy getting home?
- Are we almost there?
This is the one they ask that I’m already screaming in my head from the front seat. The mom-me however can singsong, “not too much longer” and no one is the wiser, except my husband, whose arm I’m clenching as if I were still in labor.
- What’s that smell?
They usually smell it first, like little bloodhounds. That’s the beginning of the trail that leads us to the kid poop/dog vomit/old banana. Worst scavenger hunt ever.
- Can I have some money?
To whom can I legitimately ask this that would say yes? Whomever it is, please send me their name and address or Paypal account.
- What’s that between your teeth?
How do they always spot the fleck of pepper or Cheetos bit? And why can they never direct me to it? I might as well be blindfolded and batting at a piñata. They point me everywhere but the prize.
- Why doesn’t broccoli taste as good without cheese?
I don’t know, but it really doesn’t, does it?
- What does Jesus look like?
I wish I knew, but I think they have a better picture than I do. Mine’s too tainted with the watercolor and stained glass renderings in all the church hallways of my past. I think their vision of Jesus would be the iMax version of my own, Jesus in 3D and larger than life.
Even though the questions might get…irksome, I’m still going to miss them when they stop. It’s when they grow up a little and start to think they know a lot that I’m going to miss the days when everything was solved with a Cheez-It and a kiss.