Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sometimes questions are more important than answers ~ Nancy Willard

With a house full of giggly girls we have some pretty colorful conversations. And being a former teacher librarian I am pretty used to fielding questions. But lately I have been baffled by a few things I have had to explain to one girl or another or heard as a response to something I asked them. So I have been keeping a list and decided to turn it into a post of girly wonders.

I asked G2 the other day why it was so hard to flush the toilet after she went to the bathroom. As I am constantly finding it unfleshed when I find time to go. Her response was so that of little girl born in an automatic society. She said "the toilets at school flush automatically, so I am not used to it at home." And she was so dead serious as if that explained everything. Never mind the 15+ hours she is home at night, the 48+ hours on the weekend and the 2 1/2 months we just spent at home for the summer! Those 8 hours at school where she probably goes to the bathroom no more then 3 times a day make her forget! But to her that made perfect sense. (For $900 you can get a no touch Kohler toilet in your home - guess I better have the girls start saving their pennies!)

Just after school started G2 came home and informed me she now knew the F word (which was bound to happen because she had already told me the a and s word before) So I calmly asked her where she had heard it and without missing a beat she launched into letting me know a boy got on the bus that afternoon and as he was putting his window down he yelled "it's f#*%ing hot out!" While trying to keep a straight face, I let her know while it was rather hot that day, she should not be using that word as she was describing the heat that had so pleasantly hit Iowa just as school started. The even better part of this is when I told my husband the story that night his comments were what do you expect to happen on the bus, at least she could repeat it in the right context, and it was more than f#*%ing hot out today so it was at least a true statement. I guess riding the bus in the country with all ages of kids and riding the bus across town with only kids your age is a very different experience.

My husband would tell you that the girls and I watch entirely too much TV and G1 probably does, but despite what he may think we do spend time doing other things as well even if G1 is at times glued to the TV, but that would be a different post entirely! (Yet another difference b/w growing up in town and growing up in the country.) But I grew up watching soap operas with my mom and begging to stay up and watch the newest episode of Star Trek on Sunday nights with my dad. It was just one way we spent time together doing and then had another common thing to talk about during down time. So I guess that is something I started to do with my kids too. G1 and I enjoyed many episodes of Sesame Street when she was young and more often then not you can find the Disney channel on in our house. But the TV is not usually a babysitter in our house. We always talk about what we learned or what was happening on the show  (it has actually a good connection for some kiddos at school when I teach reading strategies - it gives us a common ground to meet on before we dive into reading an article/story I hope they are interested in but may fall flat with some.) Anyway there are some times I do get control of the remote and watch shows I enjoy and the girls sometimes wander in and out or sit on my lap and watch with me. I do not censor what they watch, but would rather be there to explain to them what is going on. (Which is sometimes lost in their childhood minds) But even occasionally I am caught by surprise at what they see and understand. One night I was catching up on General Hospital just before bedtime and G2 very honestly asked me why the two men were kissing? (Which was actually an innocent question for a six year old growing up in a small rural town so I hope this does not offend anyone) But rather it lead to a good talk about how we love who we love and we should not be afraid to share that love because of what others might not understand. I am not sure at the age of six she truly understands, but it gave us a starting point for when she does understand. 

Since my husbands job is dependent on the life cycle of the dairy cow there are many questions that center around birth and death on our farm. Why do we have only one boy cow? If you don't milk the bull why do we keep him? Why is that bull trying to ride that cow? Why is a steer different then a bull? Why are you flipping that calf over and putting a rubber band on it? How do you know when a cow is going to have a calf? How do the calves get out of the mommy cows? Why do you have those long rubber gloves on? You are going to stick your arm where? Why do you have to use a rope and chain to pull the calf out of the mommy? What is that other liquid coming out with the calf? What is that reddish/creamish pile of yucky thing on the ground where the calf was born? Why don't the mommy cows stay with the calves? Why is that cow not getting up after it did the splits in the holding pen? Why is that cow just laying in the yard? Why is their a trail of blood from where that cow was laying to the now dead cow waiting for the rendering truck? The calf I named Domino is not moving in his hut, what happened? Why did the vet come and cut that dead calf open in the belly? Where do the steers go after they get on the semi? All of which lead to a pretty honest conversation that I hope they will be able to make the connection to as they grow and learn about the life cycle of humans. (But sometimes that connection does not always come and questions from teenagers can still amaze you as I will never forget the reaction of a student at school as teacher I was working with tried to explain to him where all the babies in Africa come from when he asked why the population was growing so rapidly there!)  

Oh and I almost forgot - after hearing Dierks Bentley's 'Drunk on a Plane' 453,127 times on the radio G2 stopped to look at me wanting to know what this 'drunk' word - she had been shouting out so many times she belted out the song - was and why was this guy getting that way on a plane? I try to be up front with questions, so I gave her the high school health answer about how the alcohol changes your brain and makes you feel and act different if you drink too much at one time and it can be dangerous to your body if you do that too often or drive a car after you have been drinking. And of course at age 6 she think that sounds like a bad idea - so I hope that thinking continues when she is 16! 

The 'tail' end - What is the most surprising thing you have been asked by your child? 

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