Who knew that one word could slowly drive a person insane? I've been waiting to write a blog dedicated to the word, why, for awhile now, and apparently the right time for this is at 6:30 on a Sunday morning, while Jim and Lilly are sound asleep and the baby is doing gymnastics and hiccuping in my stomach, thereby preventing me from joining them.
I've always heard about the dreaded "why" phase that children go through, and a few weeks ago, I was thinking about this phase and (wishfully) thought that we had skipped it. I assumed that Lilly talks to too much to slow down and ask, why? It was a short lived wish, and within days, Lilly (and as a result, Jim and I) were fully immersed in a world of "whys". Jim thinks it's great! He loves making up answers every time Lilly asks why we're going to the grocery store or why she can't read one more book before bed when they've already read 8 books or why the bathroom isn't the best place to built a fort out of pillows from our bed (see picture above) or why she can't have a popsicle for breakfast or why Jim works at "UPS" and not "RPS". It's constant entertainment for him and Lilly just goes along with it. I have learned that the goal of any successful why conversation ends with Lilly nodding her head and saying, "oh." That means the whys, for the time being, have come to an end.
Sometimes we have simple why conversations, like the ones mentioned above. Sometimes, they're a little bit more involved. With all of the unusual things going on around us lately (earthquakes, hurricanes, stock market woes), we decided one evening to put on the news before dinner. Lilly ran to claim her favorite seat on the couch, one chosen for its prime television watching position. It doesn't matter what is on TV--Lilly becomes mesmerized. Jim and I were wandering in and out of the living room, watching bits of the news while getting dinner ready, but Lilly didn't move. Once we all sat down for dinner, the following conversation ensued.
Lilly: Who's Qaddafi, Mummy? (Jim and I looked at each other with a, "where is this going?" smile.)
Me: He's not a very nice man.
Jim: He ran a repressive regime so the Libyans don't like him. (smug smile coming from Jim...)
Lilly: (Who now turned to me with a confused look on her face...Lilly does not just drop a conversation) Why is Qaddafi not a nice man Mummy?
Me: He hurt people so lots of people don't like him.
Lilly: Oh. Did he hit them? (again, Jim and I shared a smile as we saw the world through the eyes of a two year old)
Me: Yes, and he did other things too.
Me: I don't really know why. (that is often enough to put an end to a typical why conversation, but not this one).
Lilly: Where's Qaddafi?
Jim: He's hiding.
Jim: (In an effort to avoid the whole, "the rebels are in the process of hunting him down and would like him dead" conversation, we circled back to the whole, 'he's not a very nice man" train of thought) Because he was mean to people and he didn't have any more friends and so he went away.
Lilly: Oh. Did he hit them?
I don't remember what brought this conversation to an end. It was probably changing the subject to talk about green popsicles--Lilly's favorite summer dessert. And since that evening, Lilly will throw a, "Where's Qaddafi?" into a random conversation. It just goes to show how absorbent little ones are, even when you think they're just watching and don't really understand.
There's no easy way to transition away from a conversation about a Libyan dictator, so I'm going to drop it and finish by saying, we have decided to go to Wisconsin! It might be completely crazy, and on paper, I know it sounds crazy. I'm due to have a baby one month from today (!) and technically could have that baby at any time. But I feel great, my doctor said it was fine, and it will be so much fun to spend a week at a lake out in Wisconsin, cheering on people that I love as they race the Ironman out there. It's Joseph's tenth Ironman, Dad's twelfth (I think!) and Jim's third. As I have been here for all of Jim's training and know how much effort he has put forth preparing for this race, I am looking forward to cheering him on out there on race day. We did our first Ironman together, and will always have a special Ironman bond. If I can't be racing with Jim--and I most definitely cannot be out there at the moment--I certainly want to be there supporting him. Lilly understands enough this time around to know that her dad has done a lot of training for this race. Usually, she sees him as he comes back from a ride or a run and gets so excited, jumps up and down, runs over to him and stops short of giving Jim a hug saying, "You're all sweaty Daddy...you go and have a shower?" I can't wait to see her out on the race course, and hear her words of advice for all the athletes, especially her dad.
Mum and Dad are going to drive up here today and then on Tuesday, Mum, Dad, Lilly and I are going to embark on a 15 hour drive across the country, which I'm sure will be full of "why" conversations. I can see Dad's face already. (Jim is noticeably absent from that list. He is flying out on Thursday; a short, peaceful flight. Seems a little unfair, doesn't it?) Joseph and Liana are meeting us there. I'm not sure why, but for some reason, I have a feeling that a certain Uncle Joef is going to absolutely love these why conversations. As Dad said, between the drive over and the incessant questions from our little two-year old, race day might be the most relaxing time for those racing. He told me they're all going to drag it out and see how close to the 17 hour cutoff they can all finish. My response: Why?