Saturday, April 07, 2007

Look it up

Today is one of those days I'm finding it difficult to enjoy parenting. I used to think that that alone made me the worst parent in the universe, but now I know that every parent has days like that and don't pretend you don't. You are a liar if you say you don't and Jesus doesn't like it when you lie. It makes Him cry. And right here at Easter you shouldn't lie and make Jesus cry. It's a holiday all about Him ya know.

That train of thought in that last paragraph? Yeah, the one about Jesus and the crying and lying and stuff? That is how every conversation I've had with my children today has gone - except that is nothing compared to what I've actually endured today. One thought, one question, one statement leads to another and another and eventually a question about the origin of the name Wal*Mart turns into a discussion of which kind of apple is sweeter and (Sam says) Granny bought us apples once that weren't very sweet and Momma made a pie out of 'em and (Kady says)I don't really wike pie 'cept for chocwet pie but (Abby spews with eyes rolling) Mom doesn't make chocolate pies, you dork, because like, only Grammy does that because Mom is no fun. Gaw. All three kids would participate in one humongously, drawn-out sentence which seemingly had no end.

I have had children for ten and a half years and today for the first time - from my ten year old, no less - I got the question, "Why is the sky blue?"

Huh? Seriously. Huh??

I was sitting at a stoplight when she asked and I think there are still the imprints of my fingers in the steering wheel and I might be marginally deaf because of all of the honking that the other Easter Eve shoppers whose kids were driving them nuts were doing. When I pried my fingers from the steering wheel and managed to drive onward I still hadn't answered my child.

Now, here is where not only my ingenuity as a parent tested, but my overall intelligence as well. If she were three, I could answer with, "Because that is how God made it. Isn't it pretty? What other things are blue? Yes, Cinderella's dress is blue! You are so smart!" But she's not three, she's a tween and a simple "Because God made it that way" doesn't hold as much water as it used to. Not that my children are heathens or anything, but they require more substance to an answer now. They want whys and wherefores and real, honest explanations that make sense. That whole "Where did God come from?" issue was discussed at lunch just today. I came to terms with that topic years ago when I realized that I would never figure it out and gave into my faith. Abby and Sam can't grasp it quite yet and faith ain't cuttin' it. Yet. Eventually they'll get it. I hope. If not, then yeah, they'll be heathens.

I am sure that somewhere in my education I learned why the sky is blue. I'm fairly positive it was in Science, probably the Earth kind. I was probably in junior high at the time. I was also probably very hormonally freaked out and boy crazy during that particular lecture and that is why now, at the ripe ol' age of 34, I do not really know why the sky is blue.

When I was a kid and I asked a question of my parents the pat answer was, "Look it up." We had a bookshelf in the dining room full of three different sets of encyclopedias that my parents bought when they found out they were pregnant with me. Oh, the knowledge beheld on those tomes! I did a report in 2nd grade about oranges and got all of the information from the gigantic blue encyclopedia with "O" on the spine. Plucked it right from the second shelf where it had been waiting for my entire 8 years. That was the beginning of my love of those encyclopedias. Now, I was a rather precocious speller from an early age and was given the nickname "Walking Dictionary" because of my penchant for spelling gigantic words and spelling them correctly and always knowing the definition of any obscure word I used in teenage conversation. ("Facetious" made my friend DeLisa giggle. I used it a lot. Because she was. But that is neither here nor there.) But there were some words that I didn't know (*gasp!*) and if I asked my parents, I got the answer, "Look it up." They said they were showing me how to do things myself, be resourceful and self-reliant.

Now I know the truth. They didn't have a clue. Just like I don't.

Initially, my instinctual response for the question of "Momma, why is the sky blue?" was "Look it up" but then remembered that we don't own a set of encyclopedias. So I said what has become my pat parenting answer:

"Google it."


Lori - Queen of Dirty Laundry said...

Girl. I am so glad when we mothers can admit that our kids make our ears bleed.

Hang in there.

Stewed Hamm said...

What they're teaching you whippersnappers in your fancy-pants colleges these days...
The short answer is that all the water vapor in the air makes it blue.

Thanks to your Encyclopedia story, now I can't get the image of that kid from the Britannica commercials out of my mind. (you know, the one who had a report due on space) From now on, he'll be reading all your blog posts in my head.

Mrs. E said...

I babysat with a 3 and 1 year old on Saturday to help out a friend. I changed 3 dirty diapers. I couldn't tell you how long it has been since I have done that. The toddlers were really cute and sweet. We made towers with boxes, toys and pillows and then knocked them down so we could do it again. I got to hold a sleeping one year old and pat him to help him sleep since his nose was all stopped up. I would be such a good grandma. Oh well!!!

I vaguely remember Cap'n N's questions. He was always told to look it up. We also had the encyclopedias and yes he did know how to use them. I think he knew deep down that I didn't have a clue so rather than ask he just went to the book case and looked it up.

Maybe he didn't ask too many of those questions because he didn't enjoy seeing my head spin around and smoke come out of my ears. I mean after being with smarta$$ kids all day my patience and mood weren't always receptive to "WHY?" questions. Mother of the Year was never in the realm of possibility where I was concerned. I loved the kid and did my best but....
Hey, he has become a fine upstanding although totally too neurotic young man and I am proud to be his Mother.

I must go to bed. I don't even know for sure what I'm writing about or why.

Keep doing you best in school. It will work out just right. Trust me. I'm old. I know these things.

Redneck Diva said...

Lori, it took me a long time to realize that I didn't have to be June Cleaver to be a good mom. The sooner we can all admit that we don't have a clue what's going on, the sooner we can all have a drink and commiserate what bad parents we are. LOL

Stewed Hamm, my fancy pants college is a junior college that just dropped my degree program, but I'm not bitter. If they can't carry my journalism classes, I can't really expect them to tell me why the sky is blue!

Ahhh...the Encyclopedia Brittanica commercials of old. Wonder what that kid's up to these days? If it turns out he's living on the international space station, I will go buy a set of encyclopedias today.

Mrs. E, if you want to practice on varrying ages of grandkids, I have a few you can borrow any time you'd like! We have them in models ranging from Precocious Preschooler, Ornery Elementary School Boy and Obnoxious Tween - take your pick!

I was telling Mom this story over the weekend and she just laughed and said, "You just figured out that we made you look it up becuase we didn't know?? Wow. We sure had you fooled."

We....the people

Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...