I admire when people are able to think on their feet. I’m not usually the one to provide a smooth, polished answer to something without thinking about it. But I must say that being a mom continues to be the best educational experience I’ve ever had, and I’m getting better – out of sheer necessity – at thinking quickly.
My seven-year-old, J, has asked me many mind-bending questions over the years. Stuff I wasn’t prepared for, like, How did the earth start? When was it just space out there? How long ago was it that nothing was alive on Earth?
When he was three, he grilled me about how and why Rudolph’s carrot got back into the house after Santa and the reindeer came on Christmas Eve. (After all, the reindeer would have eaten it outside, right)? Hah – and we thought we were clever gnawing on it and putting it with Santa’s partially-eaten cookie to show that Rudolph had indeed chewed it. We should have left the carrot in a snowbank!
So I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked when I get a question out of left field from him or any other inquisitive child.
Recently we were decorating our mantel for Christmas, and he said to me, “Mom, I’m starting to wonder if Santa is real.” I gulped.
“Why would you wonder that, honey?” I did my best to sound casual.
“Well, who made him?”
Who made Santa? Ummm… “Well, we couldn’t possibly know that, because he’s magic.”
The whole doubting thing was really troubling him – and me too, truth be told. I mean, seven years old?! Isn’t that a bit early to stop believing in Santa? It’d break my heart for him to lose that sense of magic and excitement so young.
I reassured him that it’s absolutely okay to question things, but asked him to keep an open mind. That calmed him down for a couple of days, though his doubts remained.
Not long after that, our Elf on the Shelf returned. Whew. It seems that my son’s excitement and wonder have been restored. For now, anyway.
Oh, and my niece recently threw me a curve ball as well. My son and I were at her seventh birthday party with 15 girls of the same age. It was a pottery party. Lots of fun with lots of energy, excitement and volume.
When the kids started painting the pottery, though, it got pretty quiet in the room. Bliss.
Just then, my niece walked up to me and asked, “Aunt Christine, is God really real?”
I took a deep breath, put my hands on her cheeks and replied with a smile, “Honey, that’s an excellent conversation to have with your mom and dad.”
YES!!! I was quite proud of myself. I didn’t miss a beat and had the opportunity to deflect a difficult question. Hee hee! Two things I was unaccustomed to.
Has a child caught you off-guard with a difficult or mind-bending question? How did you handle it?