I have heard it said that when a toddler hits the terrible twos one of the things to look forward to is the incessant questions. ‘Look forward’ to was the right phrase as well. I had visions of taking the time to patiently answer all the questions Thomas might ask, providing lucid answers that would set him off on a quest to understand the world better. Recently, though, I have been having second thoughts about this utopian world I am going to create for myself and Thomas. This is mainly due to seeing how parents with kids a bit older than Thomas are (not) coping and also due to one of my favourite comedians (WARNING: Lots of gratuitous, but oh so funny, swearing).
Recently though, I have realised that all these questions that are just around the corner are probably going to be my fault. I seem to spend most of my time talking to Thomas in questions.
There are the direct questions that he is now starting to answer: Do you want a banana? Do you want a juice? Where’s Mickey? These questions are usually answered with a ‘No daddy‘ a nod of the head or mickey being thrust into my hand.
He has recently started answering questions with a simple ‘no’ or a ‘não‘, for example, ‘Is there a banana or on your pyjamas?’ ‘No!’. ‘Is there a car on your pyjamas?’ ‘No!’ This can go on for hours. The way he says ‘no’ is with an up-down intonation patter that sounds like something out of a pantomime, which is half-true because it is very rehearsed and he answers ‘no’ even if he does have a banana on his pyjamas. I think he is not paying attention to the question, but our intonation pattern and the fact that once we have started we keep asking him the questions. (It is also interesting to see here how he pronounces the word like the English ‘no’ or the Portuguese ‘não’ depending on the language of the question. More evidence of bilingualism.)
More common though, are the amount of question tags I use: ‘And then we had dinner, didn’t we?’, ‘You’re such good boy, aren’t you?’, ‘You’ve spilt yoghurt all over your clean clothes again, have you?’ Of course these aren’t real questions, but when we aren’t expecting a response it sounds better to ask a question like this than just to talk to yourself.
Then there are the questions that just me to be the sarcastic, cynical person I know I can be: ‘You want me to change your nappy again? Oh great!’ ‘DId you manage to lose Mickey Mouse for the third time in an hour? Aren’t you a clever boy!?’
All in all, it is no surprise that I am storing up all these questions, and trouble, for myself in the future. I just hope I don’t lose it quite like Louis CK.