Kids ask a lot of questions.
In fact, I read somewhere that children ask an average of 73 questions a day. Multiply that number by three kids and that’s more than enough thinking for one day for this mama.
Of course, now that our three are teens there are only two questions posed to me on a consistent basis. The first is “what’s for dinner?” And any answer that indicates I will be cooking a homemade meal is quickly accompanied by the second question — “can we get fast food?”
When the answer is “no” — as it usually is — I am treated to grumbles and at least one kid will suffer from a sudden slackness of all arm and upper body muscles making it seem as though their neck can no longer support the heaviness of their head. Then the trio will stomp back to the bedroom haunts from which they came and only emerge when the smell of food wafting through the air lures them out.
Fortunately, most of our kids’ questions are easy to answer, but every now and then they hit me with one that requires contemplation and oddly a few of them involve eggs.
For example, the other night over breakfast for dinner our inquisitive 16-year-old son looked thoughtfully at his plate and asked, “Why don’t eggs taste like chicken?”
There are some questions parents just aren’t equipped to answer — those of what I call the “which-came-first-the-chicken-or-the-egg” variety.
Take for instance the night many moons ago when I was reading them bedtime nursery rhymes and the oldest — who was five at the time — interrupted to ask if Humpty Dumpty’s yolk spilled out when he fell off the wall or if he was hard-boiled.
As I fumbled for a response, our ever-curious middle child — not one to be outdone — said, “Maybe there was a bird inside” before inquiring as to why the king’s men didn’t just use Gorilla Glue to put Humpty Dumpty back together again?
I’ll never forget the struggle it was to get our oldest to eat fish. One evening when he was three and had eaten everything on his plate but his fish sticks, I told him to eat a few. When he asked why I told him that fish is brain food and makes you smart. Without skipping a beat he held up a fish stick and replied, “If fish is brain food then why was this fish dumb enough to get caught?”
And then there is one question that has perplexed me since our youngest uttered it through a mouthful of soap bubbles after getting caught cursing. “Why were swear words invented if we’re not allowed to use them?”
Chanda Veno is editor of The State Journal. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org