When my daughter Al was little, I debated writing a book that listed in an inspirational quote book style things that I found myself saying that sounded absolutely ridiculous. Anyone that finds themselves around small children understands exactly what I’m talking about. An autopilot of sorts kicks in and you find yourself answering question that are hilarious and out of left field as seriously and non-chalantly as you would give the time to a friendly stranger.
Q: Do caterpillers have eyebrows?
A: I don’t think they do.
Q: Why do I have to wear both socks?
A: Because otherwise you are uneven.
Q: What color is blue?
At first, my daughter would always accept these answers without much question, but as she grew older the questions came one right after another giving them the feel of an actual discussion. Once you get into the rhythm of this, you find yourself having full-on conversations without realizing how illogical they truly are. One time I remember vividly was when she was about four. We were in Florida and she had spotted a lizard on the wall. The “discussion” went something like this…
Al: Momma, what’s that?
Me: It’s a lizard.
Al: Does he have hands?
Me: Yes, but they are just like his feet.
Al: Is he on a wall?
Me: Yes, don’t you see him on the wall?
Al: Yes, but isn’t he brown?
Me: Yes, he looks brown.
Me: Because some lizards are brown.
Al: No, why is he a lizard?
Me: Because he was born that way.
Al: (laughing) That’s funny.
Now… keep in mind that it wasn’t until she ran off laughing that I started questioning this conversation and more importantly why it was funny. At the time, this was the sort of conversation I was completely used to having with her. I should have appreciated them as soon I would begin the long phase of “things I never thought I would say.”
They usually starts small. First you realize that you have begun saying things exactly like your parents said… things you always hated growing up that you promised yourself you would never say when you had kids.
“Because I said so!”
“Do you need me to give you something to cry about?”
“Look at me when I’m talking to you.”
Suddenly they make complete sense. These same phases progress into gentle reprimands that need to be said at the time, but that you never, ever in a million years thought they would be needed. Things that pour out of your mouth and sound so ridiculous that they resonate in your mind. Things that make you take pause and question which one of you is the crazy one.
“Keep the Silly Putty out of your hair.”
“Stop climbing on the refrigerator.”
“We are having company; do not color your toes purple.”
I am glad to say that this has tapered off over the last year or so. Silly reprimands have turned into corrections about attitude and following the rules. My girl is growing up, and with that, she is starting to understand what common sense is…sometimes. She is also learning social skills and will interject things into a conversation that she is having with her friends – or with my friends – that may not have any relevance whatsoever.
The other day in the car, Ken and his son, Alex and I were having a conversation about the current road construction when she proudly added that Michael Jackson had died. Thank you. The best is when she attempts to begin a conversation. She is truly from the planet of Random Thoughts. Recent conversation starters have included an announcement of “I like pie!” and a general poll of “raise your hand if you’ve ever seen cabbage.”
My favorite attempt of a conversation happened about a month ago. Ken, Alex and I were in the kitchen gabbing and making breakfast. Al walked into the kitchen to join us and noticed that the talking had died down a little. In an attempt to get it started back up again, she politely posed the question…”Alex, how many toes do you have?” Seriously. I thought we were done with questions like that. The sad thing is while everyone else stood there a little stunned, I just non-chalantly answered it…then I laughed.
Aside from the many wonderful moments of humor this has provided, I find another upside. Since she was born I have dreaded having to have “adult” talks with her. Having to explain “the birds and the bees” and talking to her about certain life things while pretending to be mature and not uncomfortable. Let me tell you; I’ve been prepared. I have found that answering any question about body changes, boys or feminine products are cake as compared to some of the inventive answers I’ve come up with in the past.
And to the millions of questions I will face in the future and the millions of things I will hear myself say that I have never said before, I say “bring it on… and do not color your toes green either.”