…Or Why 27/6 is the new 24/7
The other evening, my husband and I looked at each other across the dinner table with one of those looks that contains a whole conversation in a single eyebrow. Here’s how the conversation went:
Husband: Are they always like this?
Me: Yes! Why do you think I’m so tired at the end of the day?
What his eyebrow was referring to was the constant barrage of questions coming at us from both sides of the table. Both kids were peppering us with question after question, seemingly at random, and without pause. This is normal.
After our silent eyebrow conversation, I said out loud, “I’ve often wished I had one of those palm clickers that umpires carry so they can count things.” He laughed, knowing I meant that would be the only way to keep track of how many questions came at us in an evening. He said, “You could do it the old fashioned way, with a pen and paper.”
At that, our oldest, who can’t stand to be left out of a conversation, piped up, “What are you talking about? What’s a clicker? And what do you need pen and paper for?”
I hopped up, grabbed my grocery list, a pen, and my kitchen timer. I started it immediately and put down three tally marks for the questions she had just asked as I said, “Nothing honey, I’ll tell you tomorrow.” Then I proceeded to discretely make tally marks for each question that came at us from both girls. After a few minutes it was time to get baths going, so I turned off the timer and added up the marks. There were 27 (and I’m being conservative because I’m pretty sure a couple got past us before we marked them) and the timer read “6:00”. As in minutes. Twenty Seven questions in 6 minutes.
The math is pretty simple. If you extrapolate that number out a bit, it means 270 questions in an hour. Over the course of a normal day (given one hour together in the morning before school, and 6 hours between school and bedtime in the evening) that adds up to…wait, I’m getting my calculator out…1,890 questions. And on the weekends it’s worse. All that time together. All those questions. I’m tired just thinking about it. This is why I look forward to 8am on Monday mornings. I send the kids off to school and look around my empty house. So quiet. No one wants anything, no one wants to know anything. Just blessed silence.
Obviously not all the questions are difficult to answer, or require much thought, but they can’t go unanswered because then I just get more questions. “Mom, did you hear me? Do you know? What would happen if we gave Gigi (the guinea pig) chocolate strawberries? Suddenly one innocent pet care question has turned into three.
People use the phrase “24/7” to mean “every hour of every day” or “at all times” but I’m thinking of campaigning (at least with my other mommy friends) to change the reference to “27/6” because at our house the only constant is the questions. So I hereby deliver to you today the new vocabulary convention of “27/6” which I’m sure will quickly make its way into the urban dictionary.
In honor of this momentous event, I am proud to bring you a sampling of some of the more brain-draining questions that come up in our daily life.
- “Mommy, what does the word ‘toxic’ mean?”
- “Mom, do things ever go wrong in surgeries?” (This was on the eve of her surgery to remove her adenoids.)
- “Mommy, how do giraffes become boys or girls?”
- “What are ‘genetics’? (The follow up to my evasive answer of the previous question.)
- “Mom, what is protein?”
- “Mommy, what if we had these little things that went around our heads, that had flowers on them and were sort of stretchy and sort of not stretchy?” (This was accompanied by a lot of gestures which did nothing to help me understand the concept.)
- “What does it mean to be a ‘newlywed’?”
- “Mommy, can I still believe in mermaids, even if I know that the tooth fairy is really you?”
- And my personal favorite…””What does ‘completely speechless’ mean?”