Questions Before Coffee
Children are not known for easing us into our day. Now that Sunboy has committed to gathering his sister en route to our bedroom, it’s a lucky morning that I wake up without two small people climbing on me like playful bear cubs.
They pull the curtains back to let sunlight fill the room. They fling stuffed animals on the bed. All before I’ve opened my eyes.
And they talk. They ask questions. They do not realise I am not yet coherent. I answer so many questions – from the silly to the serious – before I’ve had a first sip of coffee. Some questions rouse me quickly, such that I’ve come to realise that children can be more effective than coffee.
Flowergirl: Where’s your elbow? What happens to your elbow when you straighten your arm?
Me: (I point in the general direction of my arm, bending and straightening it as a demonstration. This seems like a trick question somehow, but I remind myself that she’s a toddler.)
Flowergirl: Can I touch your eye?
Me: No. Please don’t. Eyes are sensitive. That would hurt me. Just, please don’t. (I am too groggy to defend myself from the tiny finger becoming larger in my sight).
Sunboy: What are we doing after I get off the school bus this afternoon?
Me: We will play outside. Maybe ride bikes.
Flowergirl: Andrew bit my arm! (points to her arm).
Me: That was over a year ago. Andrew was another baby. You’re fine.
Flowergirl: What am I/Sunboy/daddy/you doing today?
Me: Breakfast, school, work, meetings, lunch, appointments, playing, having fun…
Sunboy: Did you know that a (blah blah blah) car can go faster than a (blah blah blah) car?
Me: Wow! No, I didn’t. (I have learned to feign excitement over things I do not understand).
Flowergirl: Who is making my breakfast?
Flowergirl: Who is getting me dressed?
Sunboy: What’s in my lunch?
Me: A hard-boiled egg, cheese and crackers, an orange, a cereal bar and a cookie.
Flowergirl: What’s your name, Mommy?
Sunboy: Could dinosaurs evolve again from their fossils?
Me: No, because the Earth has changed in the last millions of years. Even if the Earth hadn’t changed then something different would likely evolve as nature’s new solution to living here. (Being a parent has shown me I can access my scientific knowledge while unconscious)
(Flowergirl pulls my hair) Me: ouch!
Flowergirl: Whose hair is that?
Me: Mine. You pulled my hair.
Flowergirl: I like your hair. I like you.
Me: I like you too, but I don’t like my hair being pulled. It hurts. Please don’t do that again.
Sunboy: What’s the most powerful Pokemon?
Me: I really don’t know. What do you think?
Somehow I remain moderately responsive to this daily interrogation and succeed in herding us downstairs. I pour the coffee my husband graciously made as he makes the children’s breakfasts. I feel its welcoming warmth, wishing for a moment to crawl inside the cup. I sip carefully. It’s no wonder some days I want to crawl back in bed not long after I wake up.
Kat Lehmann believes we are all in the process of becoming and have a choice in what we become. She is a scientist who writes prose poetry about parenting and nature, and can be found sneaking outside to look at the moon when not keeping up with her children Sunboy and Flowergirl. You can connect with her at http://www.nurturingandnature.