Every day, the blue Toad and I share a 20 minute ride home in the car. And every day my brain is challenged.
I don't know if he saves them up during the day, or if the road home has particular inspirational value, or quite where his musings come from, but every day, I can expect at least three random questions about life, the universe and everything from the blue Toad.
These questions are the very opposite of yes/no questions. Not only are they open, but they require both an answer and either an explanation or a discussion. The blue Toad does not take my answers for unequivocal truth either, but questions them, wanting verification, or more detail, or ... something.
I can tell when a question is coming. There will be a deliberate silence from the back seat (in contrast to the more usual train-of-thought burblings). Then, "Mummy?" - quite long and drawn out. "Yes, Ben?" I answer, and wait...
Some days I am not able to answer them. "We might have to google that when we get home," I say.
One day last week, for example:
- "Mummy, have you ever seen a mirage?" Upon my answering that I hadn't, we had a discussion about where you might see mirages, and what you might see in them, and why you see them at all in the first place.
- "Mummy, is a linguist a whole lot of languages?" Well not quite, but then we wondered why being one might be a cool thing. I was reassured (being sortof a linguist myself) that he decided that it was.
- and "Mummy, what is the most often kind of car you see on the roads?" (the compulsory car question, as the blue Toad is obsessed). What do I know about cars? The blue Toad thought that it would be Toyotas, as he saw so many of them. "But they aren't the coolest, so I won't tell you every one I see." Thank goodness for that!
Sometimes I have had a busy day and have become very outcome focussed, and sometimes I really have to concentrate on driving, but mostly I welcome his random questions. I like that he really wants to know stuff, and I like that it's not just ordinary stuff. I like that his mind is totally non-linear, and that although he can't remember five minutes later what we were talking about, three months down the track he will pull out his understanding in some completely other context. I like that I am challenged by his questions, and that I don't know all the answers either, and that sometimes when we do google it, it's because I want to know too. I like that he thinks I know so many answers, but I also like that he accepts that actually I don't know everything.
I hope the blue Toad never runs out of questions; I am pretty sure he won't.
I just hope that I can keep up.