Children, by their very nature, are inquisitive and curious. They are breeders of an endless array of questions. If your child is extroverted, there is a high probability that you are peppered with questions every day. Even the quiet ones lob a few queries your way. Of the myriad of questions a parent may face, some are profound: “How did God make that sunset?”; some are mundane: “Mom, where are my socks?”; some are welcome: “Mom, why are you so beautiful?” (of course, that child is my favorite), and some are not: “Mom, how did Bubbles get babies in her tummy?” Be prepared to dig deep into your reservoirs of patience, wisdom and perseverance to address them.
However, there is a category of questions that has tried my last nerve: The Unnecessary Questions. Yes, some are, folks. The crazy-making “are we there yet?”, the mind-numbing, “what’s there to eat?”, and the tops in my book, “Mom, what time is it?” What the heck do I look like, a walking Timex?
Unfortunately, I am probably the one to blame for their incessant and lazy questioning. At the onset of my parenting career, I wanted to be attentive and alert to my kids’ needs. I assisted in everything and felt I was doing them a service by being helpful and addressing the issues they had. If they needed a napkin, I would get up and get one; if they needed a pencil sharpened, I would go sharpen it and if they asked, what appears to be an innocuous question, like “What time is it?”, I happily answered.
Well, it’s time to stop! My children look at an analog clock with expressions ranging from bewilderment to catatonia. When I am asked that infernal question for the umpteenth time, I just point to the clock like the Ghost of Christmas Future pointed to Scrooge’s gravestone. They look at me, shrug their shoulders, (thank heaven, they do not roll their eyes) and repeat the question. I then dart them a look of intense contumely (yes, I used “contumely”) that extracts a whimpering, “never mind”. My kids would not know how to tell time if it were not for digital clocks. I know they are taught analog time in school, but my kids must be clock-challenged.
When I was growing up, my sister and I had a blue, plastic grandfather clock bank. It was about two and one-half feet tall and stamped on the base were the words, “Tempus Fugit”. Time, and many other things, may fly if they ask me that question again.
Next in the series: I Am Not a Garbage Can.