Having now been a mom for nearly eight years (where does the time go, and when did I get so old?), I have mastered the art of mechanical answers. After listening to kids chatter for extended periods of time, it gets positively easy to answer their many queries without much thought. I have found that without much effort, I can drive the car, answer questions related to complex theories of physics or molecular chemistry, and mentally make a grocery list. Those of you who know my eldest will realize I'm not joking. He really enjoys science. Anyway, I'd been doing this mechanical answering for many years...then along came Timothy!
The first set up actually happened to Chris a few months ago. Timothy is a master of asking the same question repetitively, and increasingly louder, until he gets an answer. One night, as we were cooking dinner (OK, Chris was cooking dinner and I was getting out and putting away ingredients!), Timothy was hopping around underfoot yelling "Can-I-have-a-drink-can-I-have-a-drink-can-I-have-a-drink..." and so forth. Chris finally stopped our conversation mid-sentence and said, "Yes, you can have a drink!!!", to which Timothy promptly replied, "No, he may have a drink!" You have to keep in mind that Timothy always refers to himself in the third person. We laughed over this set up, and went on, never knowing how often this was going to happen.
Shortly after this, Timothy was on my lap with Bear and Duck one evening, chattering happily. He kept sticking his hand through a hole in Duck's lining and saying, "Look, Mama, I'm Santa!" This puzzled me a bit. At some point, he forced Duck over my hand and I asked, "Why does having a Duck on your hand make you Santa?" He stared at me thoughtfully, then replied condescendingly, "No, Mama, I don't have a duck on my hand, you have a duck on your hand!" And so I did.
Yet again one evening, as dinner was being prepared, Timothy was hopping around underfoot. Although I was standing in the kitchen with no intention of leaving, he was yelling loudly, "Bye, Mama!". Not just loudly, but repetitively, in fact. Finally, in an effort to pacify him so Chris and I could continue our conversation, I replied, "Bye, Timothy!" Without missing a beat, he asked, "Where you goin', Mama?" I seem to recall Chris rolling on the floor and roaring with laughter.
Finally, last night we were driving to my parents' house to celebrate my brother's birthday. Timothy had been silent for some time, and then he asked, "What you doin', Mama?" I replied, "Riding." He came back with, "Ridin' in Daddy's car?" Mechanically (although I should've known better!) I replied, "Yes, I'm riding in Daddy's car." There was a pause, then "Daddy doesn't have a car. He has a truck!" Of course he does. How could I have forgotten?
It is fairly humbling to note that I am so often set up by my 2-year-old son. I can only hope to do better in the future, and think through my replies more carefully. If I don't, I'm sure Timothy will be happy to correct me.