Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Questions, Questions . . . and More Questions

My ears are tired.

I have had a persistent ear ache the past few days, and it didn't dawn on me until this morning why that might be. I think my four-year-old and now three-year-old made a secret pact to see who could say the word "Mom" the most times in a day and who could ask mom the most questions in a 24 hour period.

Let me explain. Yesterday was my youngest's three-year-old birthday. Here's how the day went, from the moment he woke up until I tucked him in at 9:00 last night.

"Can I have some birthday cake?"
"Not right now."
"Because we have to wait until after dinner when everyone is here."
"When Grandma and Grandpa come?"
"Are they coming for my birthday?"
"Are they coming to our house?"
"To see me for my birthday?"
"That's right."
"And eat some cake?"
"Yes, to eat pizza and birthday cake."
"And go swimming with us?"
"But not at the deep end, huh? I'm too little for the deep end."
"Are you too little for the deep end?"
"You're big?"
"Because you're old?"
"Kind of."
"And when you were little, you didn't swim at the deep end?"
"Cause you didn't want to drown?"
"That's right."
"Cause drowning is scary?"

And so on, and so on--the same conversation repeated numerous times throughout the day. By the time the grandparents actually arrived and it was time to eat the cake, I felt like I'd already had it. My four-year-old asked me at the beginning of the day yesterday if it was going to be a long day or a short day (I have no idea what she was referring to). I quickly summarized my day's agenda in my head and answered . . . "Long." I didn't realize how prophetic my answer would be.

Driving home from the swimming last night my children started peppering me with questions about unimportant stuff I was sure they already knew the answers to. Finally, I said with as much kindness and patience as I had left, "The next person who says, "Mom," or asks me a question is going to get their lips ripped off." (Okay, I realize that's not a real kind, patient, or appropriate threat to make, but it was how I felt. And besides, my children thankfully know me well enough to understand I wasn't completely serious. They simply giggled and reminded me there was probably a nicer way of asking for a peaceful ride home.)

When all my children were finally sound asleep last night I heaved a huge sigh of relief and took a moment to soak up the peace and quiet, sure I had survived the worst of it since the birthday was over.

Then I woke up this morning.

"Can I watch a movie?"
"Not right now."
"Because it's almost time for preschool. Maybe you can watch a movie later."
"After preschool?"
"Hannah Montana?"
"You getting tired of Hanna Montana?"
"You want to watch a different movie?"
"I don't care. I probably won't watch a movie, so it's not a big deal."
"You want to find the princess movie?" (I had been looking for Princess Diaries all morning, hoping to take it back to the library. My nine-year-old finally found it--in the VCR. Why didn't I think of that?)
"You don't know where it is?"
"You've looked everywhere?" (Must have heard that from my conversation with Dad)
"You even looked under the couch?"
"You have to take it back to the library?"
"Yes. I hope I can find it soon."
"The princess movie isn't ours?"
"It's the library's?"

And so on, until not only does my ear hurt, my whole head is pounding, wishing this persistent little voice that will not stop asking me questions will just take a little nap or something.

But then I have this sudden moment of realization that this little voice will grow up to be a big voice all too soon, and that I might even wake up one morning wishing a little voice would ask me non-stop questions all day to break the terrible silence of an empty home.

So, although my ears are tired and aching, I can't help but keep listening and answering, grateful for the little voices that fill my home. . .

But I have to admit one thing: bedtime is happening a lot earlier at my house for a while!


Julie Summerhays said...

So funny - and so familiar!! Spence and I were sure that there had been a mistake and that we shouldn't have been parents after all on Sunday(Conference - need I say more)!!!

Melanie said...

I'm all about early bed-time

Taffy and Tony said...

I know the feeling. My kids want validation for everything they say, not just answers to questions. If they say anything--ANYTHING--to you, they will say "Huh, mom," as many times as it takes for you to respond. And then if I say "Yes," when I should have said, "Nope," they get SO mad at me.

The Martinez Fam said...

What a cute post. I loved it!! And it's all so true!!

Brian and Rebecca Nate said...

The questions are endless, but like you said they grow up all too soon! You've got to love the little buggers even if they ask you the same question over and over or they say "mom" 15 times in a row and you answer them 14, before losing your cool.

Dixie said...

I love the reminiscence :) :D