“Is it getting worse?”
“Define worse? It’s always worse, every day is worse?”
“But tonight just seems… worse.”
“I thought it would stop… eventually…lessen even.”
“But it’s… worse.”
This is the conversation I had with my spouse. No one is sick. It’s actually not about my son’s cough or my daughter’s low-grade temp. No, this is about the relentless questions that are streaming from my six-year old with such persistence that I am certain he hasn’t taken a breath of air in the last three-and-a-half hours.
It’s getting worse.
But then, my daughter is not a big questioner. So, in essence, if you multiple his daily allotment to include her share we are probably still on schedule. No. Can’t be. I’m pretty sure he asks more questions than two children. He may even ask more than his entire first grade class.
“But, I just want to know everything I can.”
How do you say no to that? Of course we want to be the uber-supportive rock star parents who support his curiosity and quest for learning and can.you.please.give.me.a.minute!?
“Experts” tell us that it is developmentally appropriate for children to ask questions. It may begin with “why.” Soon enough, however, it becomes more advanced, “how come.” Then, the repertoire expands yet again to include, “what makes.” I had one evening after reading a story of “Have you ever seen,” with fill.in.the.blank. scene of gradually increasing ridiculousness. He may be curious, but we are also fairly convinced of a couple other things:
- He doesn’t want to share attention and questions keep the focus on him, and
- See above
Take our recent experiment: I am a magnet. I don’t know how it happened, but wherever I am, the rest of the family is, dog included. Now, to be fair, Sage is a pretty independent. She may or may not follow the crowd at any given moment. Yet, when my wife needed a time-out from all the questions last night, I took one instead. “Why would I do that if she needed one?” I did that because within five minutes, she was alone, and she didn’t have to move at all. “Why does Sage get what she wants all the time?” “Why does Challie keep putting my arm in his mouth?” “Why…” I can’t go on. Even recalling the questions is bringing on a headache.
Questions are developmentally normal, and experts will tell you to patiently answer as many of them as you can. Yet, in our case, patience may have backfired. Now, our questioner is learning a lot about many things, while keeping the household hostage. I may be exaggerating, but it is on purpose. This question-asking phase is exhausting, folks. If you’ve been there, you have stories. If you haven’t, you’ll need to know that many other parents have gone through it before and somehow survived it (as did their children). If you’re in the phase now… breathe. No wait, seriously, right now: BREATHE. I’m sorry, I’ve got nothing better. All I can do is breathe, and remind myself that 8:15 will come and sleep will find them. One question-filled day at a time.
Sleep will come.