My kids have not stopped running their mouths since birth. They have a lot to say, mostly in the form of questions. I’m not knocking their rampant curiosity; it’s a wonderful thing to see the world through their innocent eyes. However, their constant grilling exhausts me and, more often than not, it stumps me. Daily, my kids ask me, "But why?" and I don't have an answer. At 9 and 6, their questions have grown to be more sophisticated, and at least a natural part of our discussions. When they were toddlers, though, I swear they were throwing these curveball questions at me for the sheer sport of it.
For a while I tried the response, “I don’t know, but we can look it up.” This never satisfied them, though. In fact, they got a little annoyed at their mother’s apparent stupidity. So then I started answering their question with a question, like, “Well, why do you want to know?” This tactic failed miserably, as it just launched them into a frustrated meltdown. Then I just started making stuff up to keep them quiet. “You want to know why you’re not allowed to climb out of your crib? Because Santa is watching.” I hated myself a little for that. A little.
Looking back at the inane litany of questions my toddlers lobbed at me, I would want that kind of torture over uninspired kids and stony silence. Well, I’d take the stony silence, but since these questions truly tested, if not my intellect, my fortitude as a parent, I don’t regret fostering their inquisitiveness. I’m just really, really glad they go to school and have another outlet for those questions that I just don’t have answers for.
Here are a few gems from their toddlerhood that definitely didn’t make me feel smarter than a fifth grader: