“What do baby birds do in their nest? How do baby birds play? Does the Mommy bird sit on the babies at night? What do birds eat? What do turtles eat? Do bears eat people? Do bears live around here? Is the UPS man going to bring me my book?” Once Tyler gets started, he just keeps going.
“Mama, are crayons real,” Nathanial asks as he colors a picture.
“Where do bubbles go after they pop,” Tyler wants to know as he blows bubbles with his bubble wand.
“Why is the sky blue? Why do clouds look like cotton sometimes? Where’s heaven? Where did God come from?”
From dawn until dusk, their questions continue. Some I can answer. Some I must look up. Some stump me.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve been sent back to my college philosophy class where my professor would ask, “How do you know that you are really sitting here, and this isn’t a dream? How do you know that your dreams aren’t your life and that what you think is your life isn’t a dream?”
This kind of makes you want to run screaming down the street, waving your arms, doesn’t it?
When I don’t know the answer, and I can’t get to the research, a persistent, “Why, Mama, why?” can send me near the edge. It is when one reaches the breaking point that you get the “Mama! Mama! MaaaaaMaaaa!” (After awhile, the brain goes on vacation.)
“What!” You might shout out in exasperation. I know I do sometimes.
“I love you.”
“Oh, well, you can pester me to tell me that.”
“I was out in my field when my chopper wumper womper hit this big rock, see?” Tyler holds out a miniature farm toy that one of Nathanial’s friends lost in the sandbox. “My chopper wumper womper went creeeaaakcrunchperkploweee.”
“Hmmmmm. I’m sure it did. Did you hurt it?”
“No. What’s that farmer doing?”
“No! That’s not a disk, that’s a chopper wumper womper.”
“It’s a disk.”
“It’s a chopper wumper womper!!!!!”
“Do you think that when the farmer hit that big rock, the one as big as a dinosaur head, that his plow went ‘creeakkcrunchperkploweee’ like my chopper wumper womper did? Do you, Mama?”
“Why is it windy? Where does the water go when it floods? Did the tadpole men fix the tadpoles when the wind broke ‘em in half, Mama?”
“A tadpole broke in half?”
“Yeah! Daddy said. . .”
“Oh, that was a telephone pole.”
“That’s what I said! Tadpole.”
Some days I just don’t know whether I am coming or going. I guess it is best that way. After all, am I really writing this, or is this a dream? Are those wires for telephone poles or giant tadpoles? I’ll just study one to see if it turns into a frog.
Oh, stop that. I am not trying to get a nap. I’m studying ‘tadpoles’.
“See how I stare at the wall with my eyes buggy, Mama? See? I can hear better if my eyes are big.”
“You better stop that or your face might stay like that, and people will think you’re a really intense guy.”
“Ssshhh, hear that? No more questions. Quiet. Listen to the bugs outside.”
“How. . . Why. . . What. . . .?”
This reprinted Reflections column is shared in honor of our birthday boys this month. Happy birthday, Tyler.