Rob Manna asks more questions than anyone I have ever met in my life. It came as no surprise, then, when we saw a picture on Facebook yesterday claiming that the average four-year-old asks 437 questions a day. All of a sudden, I didn’t feel so alone in my constant answering of seemingly inane questions.
“Mom, are there sharks in the pool?”
“Mom, why can’t my baby be born yet?”
“Mom, am I four yet?”
“Mom, what is Barkley doing?”
“Mom, what is my dad doing?”
You see where we’re going here… And those are just his questions in the first 90 seconds after waking up. Listening to Robbie, I suddenly understand how Justin feels when I attack him with my morning-person-ness every morning (although, in all fairness, I do wait until I’ve been up for at least an hour before I even attempt to talk to my wonderful husband). So, armed with this bit of trivia about how many questions kids ask a day, I approached Robbie.
“Rob. You really ask a lot of questions. Did you know that?”
“Any idea why?”
“There’s just a lot I want to know,” he replied, climbing up on the couch to curl up with me. “Like, why is waiting so hard?”
That caught me a little off-guard. I hadn’t expected him to hit me with something so profound, but he has been doing a lot of waiting lately – waiting for his birthday, waiting to get the fish he earned for good behavior, and waiting for his little brother to come.
“Well,” I started, “Waiting is really hard sometimes because there are things we really want. And when we really want something, we feel like it should happen right now.”
“Yeah. Like my birthday. Can it be my birthday today? Please?” he begged, before giving me a kiss and sliding off the couch, in search of some better adventure.
As you might expect, there were about 396 additional questions throughout the day. As we were pulling into the Kroger parking lot to pick up dinner for tonight, Robbie asked me about the construction that was going on, curious about why it wasn’t finished. I must have sighed while trying to formulate an answer. All of a sudden, I heard him say, “I’m asking a lot of questions again, aren’t I? I just want to know things, Mom. That’s all.”
And there it was, all put into perspective for me for the second time in eight hours. Robbie only know what he can figure out if I’m not willing to answer his questions. Sure, they may not all be important and many, many of them may be redundant. It’s about more than that, though. It’s about building an environment where questioning in encouraged, so Robbie knows how to get information when he needs it and that it’s always OK to want to know more.