The Writing Mamas Daily BlogEach day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.
If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.
And for that, you are a goddess.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Listen to a Child?
Children ask very complicated questions, expecting an easy answer from that great source of all information, the one who “knows it all,” Mom.
Flattering as this may be, I’ve come up against some whopper questions in my rearing of five children. Most of the time I end up being the learner and they my teachers.
Some attempts at answering a 4-year old inquiry stand out in my memory. One occurred the day Alison, then four, watched the space shuttle. As the men walked in space she asked, “Mom, what is space?” I spent time and thought and many words showing her space and telling her what space was, such as the space in a glass, the space in the drawer, the space between where she stood, and where I stood.
Perplexed and dissatisfied, she left the room, only to return five minutes later radiant and beaming. “Mom, I know what you mean,” she exclaimed. “Space is where you don’t bump into anything!”
Now why hadn’t I thought of that?
Then there was the time when Heidi, about the same age, crawled out of the bathtub and perfectly defined “nudity,” by declaring, “Mom, I’m barefoot all over.”
And so it began, when questions and definitions got too difficult for me to explain in the vocabulary and reasoning of an adult, I could listen carefully to how they were thinking and lead them through their own words to their own truthful understanding.
Often, while learning new facts, they introduced me to things I had overlooked. This was true the day I was wandering around the yard with my own children and a neighbor’s little boy. We were hunting and collecting insects and grubs for a game I had created to teach about the environment, “Nature’s Treasure Chest,” when Gavin asked me, “Is a honey bee the only insect that makes food for people?”
I paused, I knew of insect that was eaten in different cultures, insects that produced silk and other product, but I concluded that the honey bee, indeed, was the one insect that produced a product that could be harvested for human consumption.
It was my daughter, Ann, who first showed me that the sow bug, and the pill bug carried eggs on their ventral side and that these little creatures were not insects but relatives of the crab and lobster.
Listen and you hear logical names created by children. My son was the first person I heard call a “butterfly” a “flutter by.” It seemed a better name to me, and since then I have heard others use this term.
I remember going on a hike with him and there was a dandelion seed along the trail. . . We had often picked them and made a wish as we blew the seeds to the wind. He looked at the dandelion seed and said to me, “Mom, I see a wish growing.” I was charmed and learned to listen better and I began to write the enchantment down and keep a list that I could recite to his adult ears.
It’s special to both of us, and I think he thinks I’m special for remembering and sharing.
By Ruth W. Scott Stumble This Post