Ben is three. He’s been talking non stop since he was two. It feels like a lifetime. There’s a chance I’m suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome from this yet undiscovered form of Chinese torture.
Ben wants to know everything. He wants to know where the moon goes during the day and if Mr Moon and Mrs Sun are married. He wants to know why the yolk of an egg is yellow and if an orange is called an ‘orange’ then why isn’t a banana called a ‘yellow’ or an apple a ‘red’.
He wants to know why his toy leaf blower isn’t real and why it doesn’t actually blow leaves. He wants to know where farts come from and why some smell (like his sister’s and dad’s) and why others don’t (like mine, of course). If I’m in the bathroom, abluting, he wants to know if I’d like to ‘poo in peace’. If I say yes he asks why. If I say no, it’s a spectator sport, he asks why.
He asks why my face is wrinkly and my tummy like jelly. He wants to know why I have hair on my legs and why he doesn’t. At the age of three he wants to know if he’s an adult yet and if his willy will be HUGE one day.
He wants to know if the waiter at Smile is Jesus. Or if the pizza man at Papachino’s is. He asks often if his granny, Mark’s mom, is in heaven and the other day, when my mom phoned, and I said to him to say hello to granny, he asked her if she was heaven.
He asked the other day if ‘flicking’ is a bad ‘manner’. I said no. He asked me if ‘fucking flicking’ is a bad ‘manner’. I said yes. He then asked why is the one a bad manner and the other not.
I’m an honest woman. When I don’t know the answer to something then I say so. Which, of course, isn’t good enough. If he asks a question and I say “I don’t know”, he then says “say yes!” Unless he wants you to say no. Then you have to know to say no.
This morning I was lying on the bed and there was a grasshopper on the sheet. He wanted to know why it’s not a ‘bedhopper’ because it’s on the bed, not near any grass. I said I don’t know. He asked if it can live with us. I said if he wants to. He asked me what would we feed him. I said I think teeny tiny bugs but I’m not sure. He asked if the ‘bedhopper’ will eat us. I said no, it won’t. He asked if we got very hungry would we eat our new family member, I said not today. Maybe another day.
He asked me what clothes the insect wears and whether he has special underwear. He asked me if it was Jesus’ creature and I said yes. He asked me if he could kill it and I said no. He went to the open window and said “Jesus, is this your creature? Jesus, can I smack it with a book?”
I said no! He has a family and friends that’ll miss him. He wanted to know what their names are.
“Ben. Please give me five minutes. Just five minutes. On my own.”