“Did you know that an average four year old asks 437 questions a day?”
I saw this factoid on Pinterest.
My immediate response was…surely not.
Yes, my kid asks a crazy amount of questions, but four hundred and thirty seven? That seems absurd… astronomical.. ridiculous… impossible.
And besides the fact that it is inconceivable to think that she would be creative enough to come up with that many questions in a 24 hour period, I unequivocally don’t have the patience to unknowingly field 437 questions a day, every day.
I pondered this impossibility for a few days. Which made me begin to notice how many of her sentences actually do come out in question format. And if I’m being honest, it began to irritate me a little, now that I was noticing and all.
So, to have a little fun with her intense questioning and, therefore, re-align my brain away from irritation, I set out one Monday morning with the intention of counting every single question.
Because what good is a fact without an accompanying scientific experiment to validate the data?
The following is an account of that fateful day of testing.
7:45 AM: Noah woke up before Ali. So I was in his room nursing when she woke up at 8:00.
And, since I told her one time when she was two years old not to get out of bed without me there and try as I might I’ve never been able to get her to break that rule since (she’s a card carrying color-in-the-lines-in-the-box-in-rainbow-order-only kind of kid), the day started off with sixteen repetitive questions, increasing in intensity,
1-16. “CAN I GET UP!?!?!?!!?”
until I finally finished nursing and went and told her for the sixty-eleventh time that if I don’t answer, she can just get up on her own, forgoodnesssake.
By 8:20, at which point we arrived at the breakfast table, the count was up to 37.
38. “I know what my spending and my church banks are for, but what am I saving the money in my ‘savings’ bank for again?”
For big things that you’ll need when you get older. Like a car.
“Oh. Yes. Or like if I need a really really really big box.”
The questions were endless – I previously had no comprehension of the depths of her curiosity until I started this cursed counting. And still, I was so used to the continuous onslaught of interrogation that at times I would forget and quit counting, just switching into explanation overdrive. When I would remember my task for the day, I’d have to think back and try to remember the last dozen questions I’d answered so that I could estimate an accurate count.
86. “Will Pop be at Gramamma’s when I go spend the night?”
Yes, he will.
87. “Why isn’t he there sometimes?”
Well, he has to travel for work sometimes.
“Oh. JUST like Tinkerbell.”
Yes. Pop is JUST like Tinkerbell, honey.
And so our day continued, me realizing as every second passed that quite literally all I do, all day long, every day, is answer questions.
101. “Why doesn’t Lightning tee-tee?”
102. “Lightning. You know – Lightning McQueen in Cars. Why doesn’t he ever tee-tee in the movie?”
I…don’t exactly know.
103. “Do you think it’s because he’s a car? Because cars don’t usually tee-tee. But he has a face, and things with faces DO usually tee-tee…”
Surely this was some sort of twisted psychological experiment.
159. “Why did everyone move out of the way for that ambulance?”
Because he had his siren on, which means he has a very sick person in the back that they need to deliver to the hospital.
160. “Is there one sick person in the back or two?”
Just one, I’m pretty sure.
161. “What’s wrong with him?”
I don’t know, but he’s either very sick or very hurt and needs to see a doctor right away.
“OH. I bet he has a scratch.”
By 2 PM, we were up to 226. At which point came my naptime reprieve. I rested my brain, never realizing how much I needed that rest until this Pandora’s Box Counting Experiment.
Why the heck did I think this was a good idea???
Naptime ended, and the questions instantaneously resumed. I had also previously never realized the stupefying number of questions she could get out before even taking a breath…
289-295. WhyAreTheLeavesRed? AndWhyIsn’tThisOneRed? AndWillItBeRedSoon? WhatDayWillItTurnRed? WhyIsThisOneOrange?WillThisOneStillTurnOrangeEvenThough IPickedItWhileItWasStillGreen? WhatTwoColorsCombineToMakeGreenAgain?
I finally lost count altogether when Chris arrived home. The tally, as it stood, was somewhere around 320.
And she still had two entire hours before bedtime.
…And was now ramping up her question speed to ensure full use of having two parents to respond.
I’m positive that she far exceeded 437 that day. But I won’t be counting again to make sure – it’s just not good for my mental health.
Plus, I’m not sure that I’ve yet learned to count that high.