Mommy lesson #57: I don’t have all the answers, and it may be time to re-childproof the house

Baby Girl has officially entered the questioning phase. She’s been stringing words together in phrases and short sentences for a while now, but recently she realized that she could ask questions too (her other sentence type tends to be a command…big surprise there :)). Here favorite question right now is “What’s that Mama?”. An airplane goes by, “What’s that Mama?” She sees something unfamiliar as we’re walking through the grocery store, “What’s that Mama?” I put a new kind of food on her tray, “What’s that Mama?” Normally I can identify and name whatever it is she’s wondering about. “It’s a helicopter Sweetie,” or “an apple cutter,” or “baked potato with cheese.” Sometimes, however, she’ll ask her question and I have no idea what to tell her. I can’t tell what she’s pointing at, or hearing, or remembering. She doesn’t accept my answer of “I don’t know sweetheart” very well. She just repeats her question, more insistently, until I’m able to figure out what she’s talking about or distract her with something else.

I’ve found that I have to be more observant and pay better attention to the sounds around me. I swear my child has hears like a cat (cats have good hearing, right?). She’ll notice the sound of a truck engine going by on the highway, or a dog barking off in the distance, or a bird chirping on our fence. Sounds that I’ve heard so often I just tune them out, she delights in and wonders about.

One time I asked her why she was so curious. “Curious George?” she replied, surprised that I was calling her a monkey. “Yes,” I laughed, “You’re just like Curious George.” If you’re familiar with the beloved character you’ll remember that George’s curiosity usually gets him into trouble. So far Charlotte hasn’t accidentally launched herself  into outer-space or been chased by an angry pancake cook, but her explorations have caused some problems. Like when she wanted to smell the flowers I’d carelessly placed within her reach on the end table (thankfully I caught the vase just in time) or when she noticed the ceramic cow pitcher I’d moved to the table while I was cleaning the counter (sadly I was not in time to save the cow, which shattered all over the tile floor when she tried to set it back on the table). Yesterday we were outside enjoying the sunshine and she was digging in the dirt (we have one corner where grass doesn’t grow, and it’s her favorite spot in the yard). I looked down for a moment, and when I looked up I saw her making a terrible face and trying to wipe something off her tongue. I’m pretty sure she tried her first bite of dirt, and wasn’t a fan.

So yeah, my little girl is busier than ever investigating her world, and I’m struggling to acclimate to this new season, allowing her to explore and discover and experience the natural consequences that come along with that, while keeping her safe. I was warned that motherhood was an exercise in letting go, and boy were those seasoned mothers right. I just never realized how hard it would be!


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