Being the aunt of three nieces and two nephews, I’d say I have a pretty good idea of the inquisitive nature of a child. As the kids grow and are exposed to new aspects of the world around them, the questions fly. They take on the traditional kids questions about the color of things. They ponder philosophy – Are my lost toys in Heaven? And ask questions that seem to have no answer (at least not to any of us) – How many licks DOES it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
Of course, I was an inquisitive child as well. My question of choice was WHY. Why is the sky blue? Why don’t dogs meow and cats bark? Why is candy yummy but liver’s yucky? Why are boys so stinky? Why can’t school be every day? (Yep, really asked that one.)
I had no bias toward questions or who I asked. Anyone and everything was game. The grocery store clerk shed her opinion on why peas tasted gross. My teachers deflected why I wasn’t allowed to read instead of doing math. My family would all but duct tape my mouth shut so as to not have to ponder why I wasn’t a twin, didn’t have pierced ears or blue eyes.
While my family bore the brunt of me, Mom had it the worst. All day, every day, I questioned whatever popped into my tiny, annoying, little mind. In the car, in the bath, at the dinner table, in bed as she read me to sleep. I’m sure that Mom was so grateful when I started reading on my own and the questions stopped. Instead of asking multiple questions to whomever was at hand, I asked myself and went off in search of answers.
I had moved on.
My past actions came back to haunt me at 16. No, I didn’t come into close contact with younguns going through that inquisitive phase. No, I got my license.
Before you scratch your head and ponder exactly how that works, I’ll just explain. A few weeks after I received my license, Mom, Brandy and I set off to what Mom referred to as “Mindy’s Mecca”: Wal-Mart. I should have wondered why Mom volunteered to ride in the backseat. It was so out of character, but being the ditz that I am, I failed to realize it.
We drove nearly five miles as normal, chatting and listening to the radio. Then it began.
“Mindy, I think it’s time for a little payback.” My ears perked up. Oh God, what had I done?? I was driving great – my hands were at 10 and two, I kept checking my mirrors and was driving the speed limit.
“Mindy, why is the grass green? Why do girls have to sit down to pee? Why can’t I have a pet monkey? Why did Evil Kneivel’s parents name him that?” And on it went.
I wanted to crawl into a hole. Brandy’s skin glowed bright red as she shook with laughter. Mom just wouldn’t shut up.
Then it hit me.
“If you don’t stop that,” I roared, “I’m going to pull over and give you the whoopin’ of your life!”
Silence met me. Mom’s favorite threat from over 10 years earlier had come back to bite her in the butt.
In the future, when I have kids, I may just pull the same scam when they’re driving Mrs. Mindy.