I’m pretty sure that 99% of my day as a mother involves answering questions. There are the incessant, minor questions like “can I have a snack?” and “where are my shoes?” And then there are the scarier ones; “what happens when we die?” or, the worst, “where do babies come from?” Typically, I try to answer my kids’ questions promptly, honestly and tactfully, but there are some days that I just don’t want to answer any more questions.
Sometimes I don’t want to have to think of an answer. I’m tired. I don’t know why the thing we sit on is called a couch. I don’t know why Dora’s head is so big. I don’t know why you don’t like pickles, or where your favorite underwear are, or why Doritos are triangle shaped. I DON’T KNOW!!
What I also don’t know is why they don’t ever ask their dad anything. Am I the only one in my house who has all the answers to all the questions? Why do they walk past their dad who is sitting on the couch watching a ball game to traipse through the house to find me while I’m folding my 12th load of laundry to ask if I can help them find their favorite Beanie Boo. Seriously?!?! ASK YOUR DAD!!
Recently, after a particularly harrowing weekend of too many questions, too many activities, and too much on my plate, I decided that, for a whole, entire day, I didn’t want to have to answer any more questions. I also didn’t want to ignore my children. So I turned to one of the most trusted question answering devices of all time. No, I’m not talking about Siri. Siri may have some good answers, but she is TERRIBLE with directions. No, Siri, I don’t want to pull an illegal U-Turn right now, I’m pretty locked into the current direction I am driving. No, Siri, I don’t think I have arrived. This is the middle of a cornfield. No, not Siri.
I am talking about a Magic 8 Ball.
For an entire day, I answered all of my kids’ questions by shaking that magical ball.
“Mom? Can I have a waffle for breakfast?”
Me: “My sources say no.”
Me: “Outlook not so good.”
“Then what should I have?”
Me: “Signs point to yes.”
“I’m making a waffle.”
“Are my baseball pants in the wash?”
Me: “Reply hazy. Try again.”
“Oooookaaay? Are my baseball pants in the wash?”
Me: “You may rely on it”. (They actually weren’t)
“Do I need a jacket?”
Me: “Without a doubt.” (the forecast was 80. She didn’t need a jacket).
“What’s for lunch?”
Me: “Ask again later.”
Me: “Cannot predict now.”
“Can I go to Emma’s?”
Me: “Don’t count on it.”
“Why not? Can I go later?”
Me: “It is decidedly so.”
“So…. is that a yes?”
Me: “My reply is no.”
After a while, my kids just stopped asking me questions. They got tired of my nonsensical answers and the fact that sometimes that little triangle window didn’t actually show up and I had to shake the ball again two or three times. Not being able (or willing) to ask me for every little thing gave them a chance to figure it out on their own. They looked for their own shoes and socks and backpacks. If they wanted a drink, they got a drink. And if they really needed help, they asked their dad.
Why didn’t I think of this sooner? Now that’s a good question.