Friday, September 10, 2010

The Mother Who Doesn't Know Anything About Kids

Jonah, Swinging in the September sun
I can't remember exactly when it started, but some time, about three weeks ago, my five-year-old son, Jonah, decided I am a mother who doesn't know anything about kids.  This is not a description.  It is a name.  As in, "Jonah, do you need to go the bathroom before we leave?"  "No, Mother-who-doesn't-know-anything-about-kids.  If I needed to go to the bathroom, I'd go."

For the record, neither of those things are true.  He often fails to go, even if he needs to, hence the reminder.  And, I do know a few things about kids.  Especially this kid.  Like, how he will call names to get attention.  (He's also taken to calling his little sister One-butt, which really isn't all that insulting if you think about it, so I figure it must just be an opportunity to say, "butt.")  So, I was left to wonder.  What kind of attention is it that he needs?

Then the guessing game began.

"Mom, do you know what my favorite animal ever is?"
"No.  Guess."
"No.  Guess."
"That's right.  Monkey is my favorite animal ever.  And, horse and dog.  Cat, not so much."

This happens fifteen to twenty times a day now.  If you think this sounds like fun (you don't), it isn't.  He has asked me the same question a few times, like, "Mom, do you know what my favorite food is?"  But, he changes the answer.  Or there is no right answer.

"Mom, do you know what my favorite food is?"
"Yes.  But no, not that one.  Guess."
"Ice cream?"
 "Yes.  But, no, not that one.  Guess."

Are you beginning to see how this works?

Then it got really obnoxious.

"Mom, do you know what my favorite place in the whole world is?"
"Nana's house?"
"No.  But you're close.  Guess."
"Grandma and Grandpa's house?"
"No.  But, you're getting better at this.  You just need to practice.  Guess."

And, my all time favorite:  "Mom, do you know what my favorite color is?"  It turns out, he can not pick just one, so, "tie-dye" is the correct answer.

Children may not come with a manual, there may be no text book answers, but, make no mistake, there will be a test.

Does Jonah really think that I don't know him?  Does he worry that I don't care what his favorite color is (or, in his case, isn't)?  Or is he trying to figure out for himself who he is, and I am just along for the (excruciatingly tedious) ride?  I have no idea, and I may never.  Were you hoping that there was some tidy little end to this story? Yeah, me too.

Since I can't figure out what he needs (don't think there is not guilt in this, because there is) I have decided to indulge him in a few things he wants.

I played Mario Kart with him, though not very well.  "You just need to practice," he told me.

I played LEGO's with him.  We built a tower so tall that his flying machine could take off from the top of it.  He built the flying machine from plans by DaVinci that he saw in a book on the Italian Renaissance he is reading with his daddy.

I went out for ice cream with him, because he did all of his "responsibilities" this week.

"Mom, do you know who my favorite person in the whole world is?"

Oh, no.  He's asked this one before.  Think, think, think.  Then, before I can answer, he says,



  1. The questions get better at the age of 10! :)

  2. awww - that's the best (and correct) answer. Under all that thinking there's a little boy who just wants his mommy! I think I will go cry for a minute now ;)

  3. That was so sweet! It's been a long time since I had those all day conversations with a 5 year old!

  4. I haven't gotten that particular line of questioning, but I have had to listen to non-stop talking. And it seems to happen when I'm trying to type an email or watch the news. And yes, sometimes I have to do all I can to not bang my head up against the wall. :)

    I'm glad you're Jonah's favorite person in the whole world! :)

  5. Hmmm. I remember my five year old who used to do this: "Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom,mom,m mom,mom,mom,mom," until he got my attention. Five year olds are extremely precocious - that's because they are ready for learning to read and for using their brains in a specific way, I think. This doesn't make the behaviour any less annoying, though. If an adult does these things we just say he needs a hobby.

  6. It is all worth it in the end with the final sentences isn't it Tracey???

    That five year old stuff is MOST CERTAINLY a "phase." I am going through it for the FIFTH time with Sam...his areas lately are:
    1.) Knock Knock jokes with SILLY, RIDICULOUS, NO SENSE answers----ugh.
    2.) Asking me "Hey Mom, what is on your shoulder, head, ear (etc)?" and it is always something CRAZY (an elephant, a Clone Trooper) and then he laughs hysterically at his PURE comedy.

    It will pass. And, I will probably miss it when it does. (((sigh)))