Most parents expect their children to ask questions which they do not know the answers to or make them feel uncomfortable. Even the most laid back parent can find themselves feeling awkward when their child asks questions about sex and how babies are made. Then there are the questions you just never thought anyone, let alone your child, would ask you.
I suppose all parents get these jaw dropping questions & how they handle them just depends how they’re feeling at the moment the question arrives.
My son Jacob asks a lot of questions. Each page of a book has at least four queries to accompany it. It’s partially that he’s exploring language and clarifying what words EXACTLY mean. It’s also that he’s adjusting how he thinks about the world & the way it appears to work.
On an average day he’ll ask things like: “What does blue container mean?” “What does red container mean?” “What does container mean?” Bang, bang, bang – just like that he’s clarified that the only difference between a red container & a blue container is mostly probably just it’s colour and that a container is something that can hold something else inside it.
Some days I have endless patience. I answer calmly. I ask him what he thinks things are. We jostle gently back & forth words, concepts, meanings & ideas.
Other days if I’m tired or having to give my attention to household chores or another child I can snap and shut down the questions. I’m not so proud of those moments. I am proud to have a little boy who asks questions and who wants to find out why, what, when & how and if. I love his beautiful brain and love the particular take he has on the world around him. He is incredibly imaginative. He changes his clothes four or five times in just a morning as he changes character. His current obsession is Star Wars & anything related to its universe. His dad & I have sat through the movies with him, answered the many questions and made sure he wasn’t scared.
Today as I was making him his bedtime bottle of goat milk he asked, “Do Jedi Knights have bos?” (bo being his word for bottle) A brief pause and then I replied, “Well, I guess when Jedi Knights were babies they probably had a breastfeed or a bo.” He was happy with this and said “Yeah, Darth Vader had breastfeeds.”
(Post script: When Jacob was born I was unable to breastfeed him. The information at the time around medication I needed to take was that it was toxic for babies. Subsequently further studies have shown that in lower dosages and with the baby closely monitored through blood tests it is possible to breastfeed. My daughter, born before I was on medication, and my youngest son, born after the new information was available, were both breastfed until around their second birthday. I am a strong breastfeeding advocate but I also know that sometimes it isn’t possible for women for a variety of reasons. I talk to my children about the different ways that babies and toddlers are given milk and what the reasons for this are.)