Wednesday, September 19, 2007


In an earlier post I hypothesized that I often feel tired and out of breath due to the fact that I use double the words necessary when speaking as a defense against Selective Hearing. I’ve come to realize that this speculation is inaccurate, and another male-dominated household ailment (MDHA) may be to blame. This MDHA is known as Questionitis.

My boys spend three days a week at their grandma’s, my mom’s house, while I’m working. Either my husband or I pick them up around 5:30. This puts us all home by about 6:00. The other night, it was closer to 6:30. That left us with about an hour and a half to eat dinner, do homework, take baths and get in our daily wrestle before bedtime. In that hour and a half, I answered approximately 500 questions. I answered questions from Jack. I answered questions from Luke. I answered questions from John. I answered questions twice, because the asker stopped paying attention right after asking the question, so had to ask it again. I answered questions two at a time. I answered questions that were barely discernible as the asker had a mouth full of ham sandwich. I answered questions in rapid-fire succession like a game-show contestant in the final round, only there was no prize waiting for me at the end. Come to think of it, there was no end.

There are so many things going on in my boys’ heads, sometimes they don’t even wait for an answer before lobbing the next question. I have to keep track of all of these questions in my head, and then wait for them to take a breath before answering any of them. Or, with Jack, he asks a question, I answer it, and he asks a question about my answer. This sounds confusing. Let me give you an example of a typical conversation:

Jack: “Is tomorrow a meemaw day?”
Me: “Yes it is. She will pick you up after school.”
Jack: “Who will pick me up?”
Me: “Meemaw will.”
Jack: “Oh, yeah. And it’s early release day, right?”
Me: “Yes, and also Cardinal red day.”
Jack: “When’s Cardinal red day?”

You can see why, from that conversation, extrapolating the 500 questions that I answer in an hour and a half out to a full day means that I answer approximately 30 million questions a day.

I know that it’s time for a break when I feel like the next question will send me screaming from the house and headed for a commune in the desert. When I feel this way, I try to tell my boys to wait just a minute, that I can’t answer another question until I do this one thing in the other room. I then try to leave the room to get 5 minutes of peace. This is an example of when MDHAs work in collusion with each other. The Selective Hearing kicks in, and my request turns into, “Follow me into the other room so I can answer your questions.” And they do. It’s as if my request never even existed. They continue their steady stream of questions while following me around the house as I look for one place, any place, where I can hide from the questions.

They also yell questions to me from another room in the house. They need something, but don’t want to come find me to ask me. They want me to find them. I used to seek them out and find out what they needed. I don’t do this any longer. I yell back, “If you need something, come find me and then ask.” And they yell, “What?” And I yell back. If you walked by our house on a nice day when we have the windows open, all you would hear is yelling.

When my husband, John, yells a question at me from another room in the house, I just ignore him. I guess this is my way of getting a little bit of pay back. You see, even if John is sitting in the room with them, even if I am in another room or on another floor of the house and have been for some time, they store their questions up and wait until they see me to ask them. I could be upstairs making dinner, doing laundry, doing dishes, and getting things ready for school the next day and walk downstairs where all three boys have been sitting together for some time, and when they see me they start asking questions. And I say, “Why didn’t you ask your dad any of these things? He’s been sitting right there the whole time.” They usually answer this by asking another question. But sometimes they reply, “Because he doesn’t know things and you do.” I guess I can’t argue with that.

No comments: