When we ask our toddler questions, most of the time my partner and I are excited for him to answer. Responses to easy ones like “where’s your tummy?” and “where are your toes?” and “what’s the meaning of life?” often give me bursts of pride so fiery and explosive they’re like action sequences from '80s movies. However, as all parents know, we have to ask our kids all kinds of things, not just the fun stuff. While some of the best questions to ask your kids can yield awesome, thought-provoking, educational, hilarious results, some of them...um...might not.
Most of the time — since our toddler does in fact have the verbal skills of a toddler — our interactions with out kid are a mish-mash of excited yet choppy combinations of words, syllables, gestures, and pointing (so much pointing). I mean, if we counted all the things he can point to as part of his vocabulary, his word count would be up to, like, a billions words. And while I'm completely confident that he understands more of what his dad and I say to him than he's able to say back, alas, our interactions are still pretty one-sided. This means that we are forced to ask him for far more information than he currently offers, including but not limited to questions such as:
"Do You Need A Hand Wash?"
One of my least favorite parenting feelings, in between the feeling of seeing him cough on the monitor when he has a cold, and hearing him start to cry after he’s done eating, is that panicked moment that hits the top of your head and washes down your spine when you see his hands go to something questionable on the ground, or in the sandbox, or under the couch. Please, please, please let it be too big to put into his mouth, not at all damp, and sterilized.
"Is Your Diaper Full?"
If I’m asking, I already have a pretty good guess as to what the answer is. But please just give me these last few moments of denial. It’s all I have.
"Where’s Your Pacifier?"
Probably somewhere dirty that will now require me to wash it, and which means that I have to stop laying here next to you on the floor. Wait, what? Who said that?
"Are You Teething?"
All right, let me clear my schedule and make sure we have lots of coffee on hand. It's about to go down.
"What Is On Your Shirt?"
I'm just going to go ahead and assume it's mud, and we’re never going to talk about this moment ever again.
"Where Did You Get That?"
Last week, my son found the remote panic button that sets off our house alarm. I didn’t even know we had a remote panic button that sets off our house alarm but thankfully now our whole block does! Children are miracles.
Because, if we have to ask, then there is a problem. And, as all parents of toddlers know, problems — much like under-cooked chicken, awards shows that run too long, and expired milk — are the worst.