The questions are out of control.
As I've shared before, my girls are very curious and inquisitive little critters. There is no detail too small to escape their attention, no subject too arcane for them to formulate a query about it. Of course, in general, this is a desirable quality. It makes them good listeners, interesting conversationalists, and engaging students (I also well understand that any number of parents in our society would give their eyeteeth to have the summer off to be with their kids, and without the litany of day-care woes working parents face during school vacation.). However, as the woman who functions as their go-to authority on all issues, I can attest that this quality is also freaking exhausting, particularly after six weeks of intense one-on-one time. In the space of one day, I can be asked questions on topics ranging from biology to federal monetary policy to ethics and back again, often within the span of an hour. I understand now exactly why, even in our high-tech age, face-to-face interrogation is still an effective way to get people to confess to their crimes. After a full day of being a one-woman Ask Me Anything-slash-encyclopedia-slash-search engine, I tend to reach a breaking point where I cannot answer any more questions for the love of Buddha would you please stop asking.
Enter Warren. After spending his workday with people who can pick up after themselves without being threatened, are capable of meeting their own physiological needs, and don't need his help to find their shoes, he comes home eager to interact with his kith and kin. But who do the girls continue to barrage with questions? Me, of course. So when (as inevitably happens) they ask me the eleventy-jillionth question of the day and I lose my cool, Warren always tells me, in reproachful tones, "They're just curious, honey. That's a good thing! It's how they learn!" Then he launches into one of his variations on a theme of, "I wish I had a job where I could stay home and enjoy my kids during the best months of the year." Then I feel guilty AND throat-punch-y all at the same time.
Lately Cici has developed a twin obsession with "mansions" and "the olden days" (I blame a potent combination of a trip to Old Sturbridge Village and too much Zack and Cody for this). We began today with an entire barrage of questions about what rich people did in the olden days. I have been fielding questions about mansions, the American class system, and the mid-to-late 1800s for SIX WEEKS now, people. "I'm not answering any more questions about rich people OR mansions this morning, Celeste!" I informed her in no uncertain terms. "She just wants to know, Caroline," came the inevitable input from Warren. Then he trotted out the old I-wish-I-had-the-summer-off argument.
I went off and stewed for awhile, then stomped into our room. "Let's get one thing straight," I confronted him. "You have never, ever, not ever for one moment had to be the parent who's with the girls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for an extended period of time, ever. You have no idea what it's like to be with them for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and when you ARE with them, it's the weekend, or vacation, and you get to be the 'fun' parent. You get to go take them places, or do stuff with them, and keep them entertained. You have never had to try to get stuff done like clean the house or run errands with two bored kids to drag around. So you don't know what it's like to be with them all the time, without any other adults around to talk to, do you?!"
Warren grudgingly conceded that I'm right. I may even have changed his perceptions the tiniest little bit. However, just to make sure I get it on record, I would like to state the following things in print:
I love my kids. I love being home with them over the summer. I love the fact that I *get* to be home with them over the summer, and I appreciate that.
At the same time, being home with the kids, all day, every day, can be a pretty tedious gig. Not every day is a magical journey of discovery. There are days when I have to go to the hardware store, or do laundry, or wait for someone to call about the cable, or basically just keep our life functional with two bored, irritable humans on my hands. That is not fun.
There are also days, sometimes days on end, when we don't see anyone outside of our own little family unit because (pick one) everyone else is enrolled in town rec camp/all the other SAHMs are out with their kids doing stuff/we've been out of town and haven't been available to do anything/all of the above. As much as we all love each other, we have our limits and there is such a thing as TOO much togetherness.
So while I'm glad the girls are curious, and I'm glad they want to ask about their interests, there comes a point when enough is enough. You know what? When they ask me questions, sometimes they really are curious and do want to know the answer. But there are also times - lots of times - when they're just bored, or they want my attention because I'm doing something (gasp) not child-centric, or they'd rather ask me than get off the couch and find out the answer themselves, or they just want to hear themselves talk, or they're so used to firing questions at me all the time that it's become a habit and they ask questions they don't really want or need the answers to. That right there is the kind of behavior I do not have the time or energy for, especially not when I'm with these kids all the ding-dong day. So the next time anyone - Warren, friends, strangers on the street, anyone - pulls that 'you should be glad to be with your kids answering their questions' routine on me in the future, I am going to lock you in a room with the World's Littlest MOSSAD Agents for 48 hours and see how you like it.
There. I feel better now.