Photographs of children sleeping remind me of their two speeds: on and off. And lately–right before he turns “off” for the night–Oscar is more “on” than ever. Bedtime is turning into an opportunity to field great, thought-provoking questions and, we hope, provide suitable, equally thought-provoking answers. After the pajamas are on, the teeth brushed, and the stories read, Oscar crawls into his bed and begins a stunning inquiry that keeps his truly interested albeit enervated parents on their toes. Tonight’s questions were as follows:
1. Are elephants born with tusks?
2. Why do people join the military?
3. Do ogres shed their skins like snakes?
4. What sort of animal best describes Edgar?
Sometimes we know the answers, sometimes we meet his questions with our own, and more often than I ever thought possible, the response turns into a promise to research more thoroughly in the morning. The questions range from the mechanical: What does a carburetor do? to the philosophical: Why do people die? They may be inspired by life’s events, a conversation, a movie, or his imagination, but they are ever-present, continual, and important. And though we can only imagine what tomorrow night’s questions will be, we’ll be there to listen and to try our best to answer them–grateful for the glimpse into our child’s perception of the world he lives in and for our role in his life.