I bet you think you know what I’m going to write about.
My son is 4 years old. If you have children beyond this age, then you may just be able to remember what it’s like. It’s a constant stream of questions.
“Mommy, do you blink when you’re eyes are closed?”
“Mommy, why do cats have tails?”
“Mommy, is God a boy or a girl?”
“Mommy, is Darth Vader bad or good?”
Yes, we run the whole gamut of questions. Luckily, I’m pretty well rounded. I can answer most of them intelligently and I can make a pretty educated guess for those that I can’t.
For example, he actually asked me the other day “Mommy, how many cylinders does Miss Andi’s car have?” I looked at him and said, incredulously, “WHAT?!?” He casually said, “Cylinders. You know, the stuff that makes the car go fast.” I reminded him that I knew what cylinders in a car were and then just said dumbfoundedly, “I don’t know. Maybe six or eight?”
That seemed to satisfy him.
And while the questions tend to drive me batty, I always swore that I wouldn’t never become the mom that simply said, I don’t know, honey. Or go ask you father, honey. I try to genuinely encourage his curiosity and knowledge-seeking. Although I will admit to sometimes suggesting we go play a game just so the noises in my head will stop.
But guess what? Those are not the questions I’m talking about. I know those questions will stop. I know eventually he’ll go to a computer for an answer before he goes to mom. I know there will come a day when I will be going to him for answers. I’m not looking forward to that so I still relish his amazement at the world around him and my ability to translate it all.
The neverending questions actually come from me. Am I doing this right? Am I doing what’s best for him and not just for me? Can I be do something better?
Those questions came hard and fast when I was a new mom. I questionedeverything I did. The only thing that kept me sane was having girlfriends that were new moms at the exact same time. We maybe didn’t know the answers but we at least at other people to talk to about it. Diapers, potty training, formula, sleeping, ear infections. We traded stories and advice nonstop.
Now, our kids are older and our circles have broadened. We pretty much make up mothering as we go along. We’re no longer making life altering decisions for our fragile and precious newborns. We’re raising little people. And where do you get the validation that you’re doing it right?
My son, who is now 4 1/2, still wears a Pull-Up at night. He’s fully potty trained. He just can’t hold it through the night. Is that okay? I feel like his body will adjust when it’s ready. When his bladder is mature enough, it will all work out. After all, none of us went to college in a Pull-Up.
And yet, I wonder, should I be doing something different?
My son is also very verbal. Very very verbal (see above) and has been from an early age. His speech patterns have always been pretty good too. He started out saying “lellow” for “yellow” but that’s pretty typical and it corrected itself. Overnight, he learned to say his “r”s. Out of the blue. But he still has a lisp. He has a big crazy tongue and he has a hard time keeping his tongue back.
Should I correct him? Should I work with him? Will he outgrow it? Does he need speech therapy? Do I seek that out? Do I wait for him to go to school?
And then there is his size. He was always on the low end of the percentiles. For most of infancy into toddlerhood, he was at the 25th percentile for weight. I pretty much let him eat whenever he wanted. I wanted him to catch up. I kept healthy snacks around and gave him the occasional treat hoping to put more meat on his bones.
Well, he’s got meat now. He’s a healthy 46 pounds with a pretty good appetite. He still prefers snacks over a good meal and definitely has a sweet tooth. I try to satisfy it with strawberries and yogurt and applesauce but I do give him ice cream. Not all the time but enough that the questions are starting to fill my mind.
Is he getting enough nutrition? Am I giving him too much sugar? Should I give him food every time he says he’s hungry? Is he getting beefy or is my 4 year old getting fat? Is he getting ready for a growth spurt or do I need to limit his food? Will I be judged for worrying about his weight and body?
You see, the questions never stop. And these are questions I have for raising a 4 year old boy. I know there are questions for girls too. For younger kids and older kids. And I know I will keep asking these questions as he grows up and goes to college and starts a family.
I remember asking a coworker shortly after my son was born when all the questions stop. When can you stop worrying so much. He reminded me that even though his daughter was home from college visiting, the worrying never stops and neither do the questions.