Thursday, May 14, 2015

Help! I'm Not "Question Ready"

When my eldest was born I tried to do everything right as a mom. I played Norah Jones music while he snoozed and I owned a baby wipe heater. I placed his newborn pointer finger on every word I read to him. I put him in the stroller daily and we walked around Patchogue. I talked to him constantly, wondering what he would sound like when he started to respond. Little did I know  I was creating a critical thinking monster.

My son, now a sixth grader, talks to me until my ears disconnect from my thoughts, and I find myself concentrating to focus on what he is saying, often, while I’m multitasking. I’m glad he is a critical thinker, but my biggest challenge at this point, are his questions. They are getting too hard.

Case in point, I’m opening my eyes after stealing a 20 minute nap and he is standing over me, ready to hit me with,

“Why are humans superior bi-pedal beings with opposable thumbs?”
It’s very likely that later I could be indisposed in the bathroom when there’s a knock at the door, followed by,

“Mom, Mommy, MOM?”

If I decide to admit that I’m on the other side of the wall, I may get clobbered with this follow-up question:

“Why were humans selected to build society, and not another species, like, say, ducks?”
I may be putting sports uniforms into the laundry last-minute while preparing dinner and feeding two dogs and a cat when I hear his now man-size sneakers squeaking into the kitchen.

“Mom, Mommy, MOM?”

If I look up from my chores I may get blindsided with the 1-2 punch of questions: “Why do plants have cell walls and chloroplasts? Why do humans need to eat when they could instead get their energy from the sun, like plants?”

Then I might crack. After all, it’s 5:30 p.m., the witching hour for all parents of children with multiple after-school activities. I’m trying to get everyone food and clothes before we have to go out.

“I just don’t know,” I admit. “I’ll have to look up the answer and get back to you,” I say, feeling like a lame mom.  Luckily, children love their parents no matter how dumb they are. Accepting my promise, my son changes the subject, casually sharing his fears for the future of humanity.

“I think technology is one of the greatest problems today from a human perspective,” he says.

“Really,” I say, pulling the puppy away from the cat’s food bowl.

“In the future, there will be wars over hacking,” he continues, following me around the kitchen. “The problem with technology is that the things we have created are so advanced that we can’t keep up with the changes,” he tells me, finishing off his thoughts with text evidence.

“For example, I read that IBM accidentally hacked into a nuclear power plant and they said it was easy.”

I’m thinking, this boy is from Krypton, but I say, “Wow, that’s unbelievable.”
Next I ask a question, tongue-in-cheek.

“So with all of the ideas that you are exposed to at school are you feeling like you are becoming “college ready?”  

“Not at all,” my son says, explaining that he does not have enough life experience and maturity to be ready for college at 12 years-old.

“The thing you should consider, Mommy,” he tells me, “is whether or not YOU are ready for my questions, because I always see you Google them.”

Busted! I think I need a refund on my Master’s degree because I am definitely not question ready.

(This post was published in the May 14, 2015 issue of Long Island Advance newspaper.)

1 comment:

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

I like to refer to it as the witching hour too. Why does everybody outside the house also need you at that time? 4:55 PM on a Friday, en route to picking one up and dropping one off, and I get a text from college girl: "There's a freeze on my account." Then the husband comes home when the witching hour is over and wonders why I'm not all peaches and cream!

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