No, I’m not little or green. My ears are (rather boringly) NOT pointy, and I’m not covered in wrinkles (although I have noticed one or two cropping up unexpectedly). Wiry whiskers do not sprout from my forehead (if they did, I’d surely pluck them!). I don’t live in a bog (although some days it does seem THAT wet here in Seattle), and my clothes are a BIT more stylish than a shapeless gunny-sack (not much, but a bit).
So why, you’re now wondering, am I likely to be confused with Yoda?
Let me explain.
CJ is in that wonderful phase of childhood where he wants to know WHY.
Some of his questions are hard… out there; ethereal; the stuff of the universe.
Why is that man angry, mommy?
Why is it dead?
Why does that man have those bags? And why is he so dirty? Why doesn’t he have a home, mommy? Why?
Why CAN’T I use all the paper towels?
Unfortunately, I think I just might be the world’s worst explainer. Take this little for-instance. We are stopped at a stoplight, and CJ notices a man sitting at the bus stop, smoking a cigarette.
CJ: What is that smoke thing, mommy?
Me: That’s a cigarette, honey. Cigarettes are BAD.
CJ: Is that man putting the ci-ger-ette in his mouth?
Me: Yes, he is.
CJ: Why mommy?
Me: Umm… I don’t know really.
CJ: When he breathes, smoke comes out. Like a dragon! (His eyes are huge, and I can tell he thinks the smoking is very, very cool.)
Me: Smoking is very bad for you CJ. Can you imagine having smoke like that in your tummy? It’s not good for you… it burns your insides.
CJ: But that man likes it?
Me: Well… yes, I suppose he does.
CJ: Why does he like it, mommy?
Me: Well… I guess he’s probably unhappy, and that’s the only thing that makes him feel better.
CJ: Smoking makes him feel better?
AAAAGGHHHHH!!! You see what I’ve done? I have SINGLE-HANDEDLY taught my four-year old son that smoking makes you feel better. I am a terrible horrible no-good very-bad mother. I should have my parenting license revoked. I should have had TRAINING for these conversations. SOMEBODY STOP ME!!
So there are the hard questions, the questions that I should probably know how to answer, but don’t. Then there are the easy questions.
CJ: Why do I have to take a bath, mommy?
Me: Because you stink. And no one likes a stinky boy.
Me: Because it makes people want to throw up when they smell stink.
CJ: It makes people THROW UP? (eyes widen in delight at the thought of something so gross as throwing up)
Me: Yes. Now get in the tub.
CJ: But why?
Me: (fierce tone of voice) BECAUSE I SAID SO.
See how easy that was? I am a good mother after all!
The worst questions of all are the ones that aren’t really questions. They’re just a “why” thrown in to fill up the silence, or to prolong the conversation, or just to make mommy squirm.
CJ: What did that song just say mommy?
Me: It said, “the bear went over the mountain.”
CJ: Why did it say that?
Me: Because that’s the song.
Finally, the other night I was pondering these answerless questions, and I realized something profound. For some things, there is no why.
This realization makes me feel better. It also makes me feel a lot like Yoda.
Next time CJ asks me WHY to an answerless question, I’ll simply shout out, THERE IS NO WHY!
A very wise mother CJ has.