Friday, November 10, 2006

A. has been heavily into the existential issues lately. He's got lots of questions. Everytime he's been quiet for a while and then says, "Mama.....?" I know something hard to answer is coming.

"Mama.....why do we not eat worms?"

"Mama.....why are there killers in this world?"

"Mama....what's bigger than us?"

"Mama....why are seat belts sometimes not enough?"

We had a long discussion about monsters, too. It all started when I made an offhand comment that monsters weren't real.

"But Elmo is a monster and he's real."

"Well.....actually, hon, he's a puppet."

"No, he's not."

Not wanting to hammer him over the head at four with reality, but also not wanting to lie, I said, "Mmmm," and tried to drop it.

After a moment of thought, he repeated, "Elmo's not a puppet, Mama, because Elmo does his own voice," he stated with absolute certainty.

"Well....actually, hon, there is a puppeteer who does Elmo's voice. You just don't see him on TV."

"Elmo is real."

"OK, babe. But we only see monsters on TV, right? We don't see them walking down the street, do we? We don't run into them at the grocery store, right?" (hoping he doesn't remember the time Cookie Monster gave us cookies at Albertson's...)

He finally let it go, which was good because I didn't see that conversation going anywhere satisfying for either of us.

This one worried me, though:

"Mama, why are seatbelts sometimes not enough?"

I had no idea what he was talking about - had he seen something on TV about a bad crash were seatbelts didn't save people? I didn't think so, and to say something's "sometimes not enough" sounded like he was quoting someone.

"Did you hear someone say that?"

"Yeah. W. said that." Ahh - W is A's 5-year-old friend who considers himself A's mentor.

"Oh. Well, seatbelts are usually enough to keep you safe."

"Actually, he said seatbelts weren't good."

"Well, then, W is wrong. Seatbelts are good because they keep you safe."

"No, he's not wrong. He's right."

Oh, terrific. He's four years old and already succumbing to peer pressure. Peachy. Next thing you know he'll be accepting smokes when they're hiding in the bushes.

"Why do you think he's right?"

"Because seatbelts aren't very fun."

"That's true - they're more serious than fun. But they're still good because they keep you safe."

At least he asks. I fear the time is coming, sooner than I had hoped, where he tunes me out and hears, "Blah blah blah blah blah..." How do you keep them listening?


Boobless Brigade Master said... could try to make seatbelts fun somehow...maybe? Maybe buy him a big penny bank from the dollar store and tell him that every time he gets in the car and puts his seatbelt on without you telling him to...upon arrival back home he'll get a nickle or a dime or whathaveyou and when the bank is full, he gets to go shopping! Or make up a seatbelt song with teach his younger brother someday of course!

As for how to keep them listening...keep doing what you're doing...talking! Engage him with questions. When he's playing or whatever, say excuse me and interrupt him (like he does you, and I don't mean that in a bad way) and ask him questions...why or what does he think about this or that, etc.

You said yourself...he's a smart kid for his age. I don't think you'll have a problem with him tuning you out...he likes to learn!

Lunasea said...

Actually, we've never had a problem with him putting on his seatbelt - he is nothing if not careful and safe. He screams, "WE CAN'T LEAVE YET!" if I start the engine before I buckle him in.

I'm more worried about him believing W. over me. I do believe I have earned the right to be believed. I didn't lie about Elmo, after all. On the other hand, W. told him that vampires (what W. was dressed as) drink the blood of cows (what A. was dressed as).

Sarah O. said...

Oh my, you've entered the stage in which your firstborn is in school and away from Mom.

Now it's your turn to relive Separation Anxiety!

Both of my kids gravitated towards the preschool know-it-alls. I think this happens for two reasons.

One, bright kids naturally seek out other bright kids. And who's brighter than the kid who knows everything?

Second, the know-it-all seems to have all the answers, just like Mom. Comforting,isn't it, to know that for a few hours a week you're being replcaced by a kid who enjoys scaring your baby?

Fortunately, A. has his doubts about Mr. Know-it-all's statements and uses Mom as his fact checker. Your're still #1!

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