“Hey, mom? What was I gonna ask you?”
This was a question my 7-year-old son walked into the kitchen and asked me today. He wanted me to tell him what his question was so that I could answer it.
WHY WOULD I KNOW WHAT HIS QUESTION WAS GONNA BE.
Or maybe a better question is: why would he think I would know?
I thought about this, literally gave conscious thought to why he would think I know what he was going to ask me. I zoomed out and a whole movie played in my mind:
“Mom, where are my shoes?”
“Mom, is it going to rain today?”
“Mom, where is the remote?”
“Mom, how many bites have I taken?
“Mom, where is my water bottle?”
“Mom, who is that person in the parking lot over there at that store?”
Our children come out knowing nothing. NO. THING. They don’t even know how to sleep right. They don’t know how to eat enough to not die. They look to us for everything. And where it gets tricky is when the get old enough to know a fair amount of stuff and, yet, they still ask the parents. Especially…the moms.
And it’s pretty much out of habit.
Why? Because we know where the shoes are. We know if it’s going to rain, where the remote (probably) is, and approximately how many bites are left before dessert. So why wouldn’t our children think we know who that stranger in the parking lot is or what question they were trying to ask us just now?
If you know me, you know I’m a little bit lazy. I don’t typically shower until around noon. I don’t make the bed. I don’t dust unless people are coming over. I wear a lot of yoga pants. I spray good smells onto bad smells. You know what I’m saying?
I’m also a little bit of a lazy parent. I will send my children back to their rooms three and four times before I will even consider standing up to help them find their shoes.
I thought for a long time that this style of parenting would create independent children; the kind of children who look for their shoes in REASONABLE places for a REASONABLE amount of time before they come asking where they are. For example: I would think that by now, my children would consider the fact that they went outside earlier in the day and that would result in a good place to start looking for their shoes. You know…outside.
I would think that forcing them to unload the dishwasher for me would mean that by the second or third time, they would recognize that cups ALL go in the cup cabinet and there’s never a reason to put ONE cup in the bowl cabinet.
But nay. Even doing the least amount possible as a parent, my kids still wander into the room I’m in to ask me what they came in to ask me.
So for all of those parents out there who receive the barrage of questioning on a daily basis from children who appear to have no brains, I want to tell you that whether you answer their questions or don’t answer their questions, they will still ask you where we keep the ice, how to open the peanut butter, and whether or not the dogs can eat jalepenos. I’ve done the research. It makes no difference. Parenting literally makes no difference.
My son is brilliant and does his own laundry and got a perfect score on his spelling test and he literally shouted, “SQUIRREL” and ran outside to chase a squirrel in the middle of a conversation today.
So have the glass of wine. Help them or don’t help them. Gluten or gluten-free.* All that matters is you love them and do the best you can to keep them from jumping off of cars in the driveway.
*Yes, I know. If your child is a celiac, gluten-free matters. If they’re physically disabled, they may need help. If you’re an alcoholic, don’t drink the wine. Because, duh.