Sometimes it feels like I am home schooling even though I am most decidedly not home schooling. Because the child asks eleventy billion questions every day. About everything. Until my ears are bleeding and my brain is mush. The string of "why"s he can hitch together is astounding; every answer provided leads to another question, challenging not only my knowledge about the world around me, but my very sanity.
But I try to buy into the whole "you are your child's first teacher" business, so I answer what I can & google what I can't.
There are a whole lot of weather related questions. Some of Ethan's recent questions have been:
1.) Why is the sky blue? (this has to do with prisms and blue light dispersing more rapidly than other colors colors on the light spectrum--thank you, NASA).
2.) Why does it rain? My explanation, drawn on memories from my basic 9th grade earth science class taught by a teacher who was potentially crazy and almost certainly unqualified, led Ethan to ask another question, 2a.) "So, the clouds are peeing?" Sure. The clouds are peeing. Right now I am all kinds of grateful that we don't live in a climate where the forms of precipitation vary from rain to fog to snow to sleet to hail. Oh, that reminds me. I have had to answer 2b.) Why is it foggy?
3.) What makes wind? Again with the google...I found my answer here, but I didn't really get into the whole downburst or jet stream concepts. If Becca lived nearby, all of my son's weather related questions would go to her, thus sparing my wrists the carpel tunnel I am sure to develop whilst feeding my son's rapacious need to understand all manner of weather phenomenon around him.
He also asks a lot about other things...
4.) Did a doctor make a hole in your tummy so I could get out of your tummy? Well, since I had a c-section, this is easy. Yes, honey, the doctor made a hole in my tummy so you could get out. Of course, this always leads to the inevitable:
5.) How did I get into your tummy? This is where I pick my words carefully. See, I'm not averse to telling him, biologically speaking, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We live in a household where body parts are called by their real name & we're working hard to create an environment where there's no fostering of body shame. But I don't know how I feel about spilling all the beans.
I distinctly remember being in high school and babysitting for a family I found to be very progressive and crunchy (very different from how I grew up). I loved their kids, but as a sitter, the gig was kind of lousy--their snacks were all unsweetened and their ice cream was made with rice milk & their cookies were laced with carob chips. So not what I was looking for in terms of refrigerator booty. One evening I had my Humanities book open to a page I had to read for homework. We were studying Greek sculpture & on the page was a picture of a naked young man carved out of marble. The little boy I was taking care of climbed up into my lap, pointed to the picture and said, "That's his penis. He uses his penis to pee, but he also uses it to make a baby. He puts it in the lady's vagina and they make a baby together. That's where I come from. I came out of my mommy's vagina."
I was responsible for the wellbeing of these two kids, so I did not run screaming from the house. But the prissy little 11th grader in me? Whose family simply didn't talk about these things? Wanted to run like I was on fire. It was so foreign for me to hear a little kid talk about sex, to even KNOW about sex (of course he didn't call it that, but his knowledge of anatomy and what it was for was staggering to me at the time). I know I blushed 10 shades of crimson, stammered something about "um, yeah, that's right. okay, let's go play!" and then scooted him into the other room to play with his big brother. Then, I was mortified.
Now? As an adult and a parent? I've come a long way from the sheltered goody-two-shoes teen I was then who blushed when a 3 year old talked reproduction with her. I like to think of myself and my parenting as a little bit progressive with a side of crunchy, too. Adult me basically sighs and shakes her head at prissy teen me. It's hard to believe we are the same person with 20 years spanning between us. I am far more comfortable with the idea of my own child understanding his body and its various functions, including the parts used in reproduction and how they work.
BUT, I am also aware of how kids talk to one another, and I'm not sure every.single.one of my kid's friends' parents are ready for their children to hear about this at 4 years old. So I talk about when a man and a woman are all grown up & love each other, they hold each other very close & (this is where I hold my breath and hope he doesn't ask for further clarification) the man might put a baby in the woman's tummy. So far, this has appeased him. I know the day is coming when he will say, "HOW?" And then I will have to tell him. Goody for me!
6.) Why do my feet stink? Dude. Because you're a boy. (no, really, that's not what I tell him).
7.) Do chickens/elephants/snails/ants/zebras/etc poop? This question comes up daily. The child looooooves him some poop talk. We're familiar with Everybody Poops. And yet. It is like a daily affirmation that all is right with the world when I confirm for him that indeed, (insert today's animal) does in fact poop.
Ethan asks a LOT of questions in our car.
8.) Why are you driving so fast?
9.) What is a speed limit?
10.) Why did you honk your horn at that car?
11.) Is Piper in that car?
12.) Why is that car red?
12.) Who is singing that song? This I love. Because when I tell him it is, say, John Mayer, he will ask me, "why?" Why is it John Mayer?!! What do you mean?! This kid can whip out the "why" like no one's business & in the weirdest places. Why is it John Mayer? Why is he singing?! What are you asking me?!
My favorite two questions from today?
13.) In the car, with no further explanation & while I am driving and cannot see him or turn my head to investigate the source of his question:
"Why is that like that?"
14.) About 5 minutes into a string of "have you ever seen" questions, most of which made sense: "Have you ever seen a duck watching TV in your tummy?"
Again, uhhh. What?
I know I'm not alone. What crazy questions has your kid asked you lately?