OK, I consider myself an educated woman. Also an open mother, who believes in honest communication. I have dreams of speaking with my boys when they are older about sex and giving them condoms with an understanding nod, and being “cool” mom. A mom who they can speak with about hard issues while I share with them the wealth of wisdom I have learned along the way.
Already I am stumbling. My children are only four and six and they are asking some tough questions. Questions that I am having trouble answering. In my dreams, I patiently answer their questions until they are satisfied. In reality, I am “copping out” big time.
So, in the spirit of Letterman, here are the top five conversation busters I cannot seem to battle through.
I don’t consider myself a religious person but more of a spiritual person. Lately, my older son is quite obsessed with questions about God. I think this is a good thing, but I discovered I’m stumbling. For instance, he starts with what God makes. Does God make the houses? The plants? The animals? I’m good at that. Then he moves on. Did God make the people? Yes. Then why are there bad people? Can’t God just make good people? Umm, no because people have free will. They can choose whether to be bad or good. If God can do anything, why can’t he just make people be good and everyone can live happily ever after? Umm, I don’t know. Man, that would be great, wouldn’t it? But God lets us make our own choices and sometimes we make bad choices.
Then, “Why does God let people die?
Which leads us to
Ah, death. I have explained about heaven and how wonderful it is and how people die when they are old. But my children have told me they have heard some children die and babies die and why did they go to heaven because they were not old?
So, I explained sometimes God wants angels and takes people early. This led to hysteria because they were then afraid I would be elected an angel and go to heaven before I am 90. I had to calm them down and start again. Then I had to answer questions of where the body goes, is it dark underground, and do the bugs get to them. Which led me to explain about coffins and then desperately try to change the morbid subject and wonder why they are thinking about these things. So, I smiled brightly, and suggested they take a bubble bath. Which leads me to
Yesterday, my boys stripped off the clothes from Goofy and asked where his penis was. Sigh. I have not gotten the question of where babies come from yet, but I feel they are hovering near it. My son wanted to take a bath with my niece, and I gently told him it was probably not a good idea. He was genuinely confused, and I explained he was older and body parts were private. Then he pointed out his cousin was a “safe” person and can see him naked. I said she was an older girl, and girls and boys don’t really get in the bath together. This led to why, and exploded a bunch of other bodily questions and ended with, Does daddy ever see you in the bathtub? If you’re married can you see each other naked?” So, I forgot about the bath and suggested we go have some fun and poke around the dollar store which led to questions on
My kids ask if everything is “expensive.” They ask if I “have money today?” I explain about work and saving and tell them they have to wait for Christmas and their birthday to get toys. When I think they understand, an hour later they will ask for something on television, or to ride one of those little toys at the mall, or to get a stuffed animal at the supermarket. It never stops. Then I’ll go away on a trip and bring them back a little surprise – something minor. This summer, I came back with two little rubber ducks for the bath – a policeman and a fireman. I told them they could share. My little one immediately burst into tears because the older one grabbed the fireman and tossed away the policeman. Which leads me to
“It’s not fair!” The ultimate line uttered from kids and adults over the world. It starts with a fight over rubber ducks, and builds to why bad things happen to good people. I can certainly hold my own with the subject of justice and sharing, but when they meld questions about justice and death and God and money, I am toasted.
The bottom line. My kids are much smarter than I think, and I need to get better answers.
Are you ever amazed or exhausted at your children’s questions? Hit the number at the top to leave me a comment or share your experiences.