Kids are fun. They really do say the darndest things. Things like “napkins are erasers for my face” and “you’re skinny-fattish”. They ask questions about everyone and everything. And three-year-olds ask questions. Lord have mercy, do they ask questions. Constant questions. Monkey Man is no different. He turned three Saturday. And as if on cue, he began making every sentence a question. And following questions with questions. And then of course, answering the questions. My answers are not good enough. I know nothing. Here is this morning’s breakfast conversation:
[Interior. Breakfast area. Mom is preparing breakfast for Monkey Man]
Me: I’m going to make your breakfast; do you want a blueberry bagel?
MM: Blueberry bagel?
Me: Yes, that is what is for breakfast.
Me: Do you want it toasted? With spread on it?
MM: Toasted? Spread?
[Huge sigh of resignation because he is NOT going to answer me, but apparently mimic each question I ask in simple worded re-questions]
Me: Here, Blueberry bagel, not toasted, with cream cheese. And some yogurt
Me: Yes, would you like milk?
MM: Milk? Chocolate Milk?
Me: Yup. Here you go … chocolate milk in your orange cup.
[Even larger sigh, because my day is shaping up to be a bad game show or something. Off to eat my breakfast]
MM: Mom, you’re the best mommy ever.
… And that’s why the questions are okay. They are so worth it. Even the inane ones. Even when Bean asks something that is so obvious. Everyday after school they get snack. Every day. Not just occasional days I remember to feed them. Every. Single. Day. And if they’ve gotten good behavior at school (an “E” for “excellent”) they get a treat. Something small that says, “Hey, way to go you! You managed to keep your mouth shut at school all day!” They get a treat for an E. Every time. Its how life works at the zoo. We give treats to the beasts who behave nicely. Pavlov – plain and simple. They want the treat, they behave at school. Yet, every day after school, as we are walking back to the car, Bean asks “Mom, I got an E today. When we get home can I have snack and a treat?” One day I’m going to change up. “No,” I’ll say. “You are getting dog food and moldy bread for today.” Just to see if she’s listening. Because I’m sure they don’t listen. Children don’t listen to 99% of what we say. Like Charlie Brown’s teacher. When they are listening, I know. I know because they will repeat what I said in the form of a question. Smart little Jeopardy kids. I’ll take “wouldn’t trade it for all the world” for $1000 Alex.