We ordered out last week for some Chinese food.
My son was sick, so he wasn't up for eating much. Except for, of course, the fortune cookie. And I have a pretty liberal "sick" policy around here; pretty much anything goes (especially when they are struggling to keep anything down). So fortune cookie you want? Fortune cookie you get.
He opens it up and wants me to read the tiny paper.
It says something about a drunk man's fortune or something like that and since I'm really not up for explaining "drunk" to a three-year-old, I need to think quickly. Motherhood is perfect training for Jeopardy by the way.
I hold up the paper and say, "Um, Superheroes are wise and kind." Yeah. That's it.
Sometimes I surprise even myself.
This look washes over his face like I have just paid him the biggest compliment in the world, he can't even comprehend this statement or wrap his mind around it or contain himself. His eyes get real big and a smile literally bursts forth and he is now gleaming. Because of course, he is a superhero and this fortune is exactly about him. It is for him. He's usually Batman, but a superhero nonetheless and the fortune cookie was about him. And he repeats the fortune over and over again. "Wise and kind, Mommy!" "Wise and kind!" Gosh I'm great.
Now, "kind" he knows. But wise is a little different. I had to explain "wise." And it was almost easy because we had already been talking about "smart" and "brain" earlier in the day.
Because the questions have been rolling in. I thought I was at least a year out from this by they way, but they're coming in fast, one after another, I barely have time to answer them before he's on to the next one. Earlier that day, he wanted to know how his brain worked.
So I said that the brain contains lots of answers and it always wants to know more answers. I asked him questions as an example. "What's that color?" He said, "Red." I said, "See? Your brain had the answer and told your mouth to say it. What are we sitting on?" (Don't say 'brain'.) "The couch," he says. "That's right. Your brain knew that too!" I could see in his face that on some three-year-old level, he was getting it.
Well now I've created a monster because when he realizes his brain doesn't know something, he realizes he needs to give it all the answers and now it seems like his brain won't stop telling his mouth to ask questions!
"How does a frog jump, Mommy?" (He uses his legs.) "How does a car go?" (It uses its wheels.) "But how?" (It has a motor that makes the wheels spin.) "But how?" (It eats gasoline that makes the motor run which makes the wheels spin.)
Sometimes I think it's funny to overexplain things to see what his reaction is.
On the flip side, there are times where I wish to completely underexplain as much as I can. Like, that particular question that we mothers are not quite ready for once it is asked. You know the one.
You think you have plenty of time to drum up some genius, but no. It comes out when you least expect it. The one and only. THE question.
"Mommy, how do you have a baby?" Or "Where does the baby come from?" Or "How does it get there?" Or "How does it come out?"
He's three-and-a-half. I so wasn't ready for this.
They all came rapidfire, too, one after the other.
And as I began to sift through the questions, I answered each one, thoughtfully divulging just enough information but refraining from too much. I was almost even proud! I was on a roll!
But by the third question, it turned into my mouth answering questions and my mind turning to look at my mouth, saying, "What are you saying TURNIT OFF!" I could feel myself sinking deeper and deeper into the big ol' hole I was digging for myself and there was nothing I could do. By the end, there was something to do with God having a magic wand and pointing it at my belly and saying "Alacabam!"
(He's three-and-a-half, he'll forget this by naptime, right?)
I embarrass even myself sometimes. And really, come on. I'm a creative girl. That's the best I could come up with? God has a magic wand?
I swear it all started off so well! I thought I was acing this!
By the end I wanted to turn and run.
And maybe say something supergenius like, "Let's ask your father when he gets home." Which, let's face it would probably go straight back to me in the end anyway.
I hope I have a chance to start over and re-splain. But for now I'll ask you. He's three-and-a-half and I'm interested in the less is more philosophy. While also being somewhat honest. (This sounds like a Craigs List ad). Actually, I would like to say the exact opposite of what I've already said so far. So. Help a mama out. Any tips?
PS. We opened up a second fortune cookie the next day, one that was left over. It said, "Eat your vegetable and you'll grow up big and strong like Popeye."
I swear. I'm not even making that one up.
Thank you, dear fortune cookie people. Thank you.
We ordered out last week for some Chinese food.