The tricky questions

Obi wan Kenobi

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.

Jedi Knight has a bo

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.”

Before Star Wars Jacob was a pirate

a knight

and a lizard

(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.)

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flesh & blood

flesh

Originally uploaded by beccaplusmolly

the last 10 days have been intense for my three children. we’ve had our usual school / playcentre routines playing louder & louder as we approached the end of term / end of year. added to that we’ve had a birthday party to attend, a christmas party to organise & attend, 10 days of swimming lessons in a row plus six days of swimming at school. throw in 2 tummy bugs & 2 ear infection & 3 farewells & really it’s been fun but probably a bit much.

all three children were in bed & asleep at 6.30 tonight (most unusual) but at 9pm my youngest was up & about for an hour and then my middle son woke having wet the bed. sheets changed, him showered & changed & comforted & back in bed by 11pm.

i hadn’t felt like a good parent today – too much shouting & flapping about, not enough smiles & cuddles but two things redeemed those feelings – a shared swim with my middle boy & the round of comforting & re-settling with both boys.

I do love them & know how to care for them, I just need to love & care for myself somewhere in all of this.