Like Playing 20(,000) Questions

I know it's just the age.  
And I know it's not going to get better anytime soon.
But lately, every time Marco opens his mouth, it's to ask me a question.

Sometimes I feel like we're playing 20 (thousand) questions!
This is his "Huh?" face.
His questions go round and round and round and I find myself repeating myself and becoming frustrated at the never ending stream.

I'll give you an example.  Warning: by the end of this example you may, or may not feel incredibly stressed.

This is an excerpt taken from an actual conversation that occurred after Mauricio's car got picked up by a tow truck.

Marco: Mom, is that Mater? (as in Mater the tow truck from Cars)
Me:  Yes, it's a tow truck just like Mater.
Marco: But why is it red?  Mater's not red, he's brown!
Me:  Because maybe I think that's Mater's cousin. 
Marco:  What's he doing with Daddy's car?
Me:  Daddy's car broke down and so he's taking it to the shop.
Marco:  Where's the shop?
Me:  I don't know… we have to follow the truck because he knows where to go.
Marco:  But is it far?
Me:  I don't know… we'll find out soon.
Marco:  And what are they gonna do in the shop?
Me:  Fix Daddy's car.
Marco:  How?
Me:  I don't know… first they have to see what's wrong with it.
Marco:  What's wrong with it?
Me:  I don't know.
Marco:  Where's Daddy?
Me:  He's in the tow truck with the driver.
Marco:  But why?
Me:  Because Daddy has to stay with his car.
Marco:  But why?
Me:  Because that's Daddy's car.
Marco:  But where are they going?
Me:  To the shop to get the car fixed.
Marco:  Is it far?

And round and round and round and round it goes…

Ok, take a minute and relax… your shoulders are probably tense after that… mine are!

Here's the thing.  After about 5 questions, I'm ready to scream my head off "NO MORE QUESTIONS!" but I'm trying really, really hard not to do that.

I'm finding that this is a challenging issue because while on the one hand, he's annoying the heck out of me, on the other hand, I don't want to squash his inquisitiveness or make him feel like he can't ask questions.

I remember being four years old and also being rather inquisitive.  My mother always reminds me of such times… It was my "But Why Mommy" phase.  And she too would eventually become exasperated and yell, "BECAUSE I SAID SO, THAT'S WHY!".  While I'm pretty sure she didn't scar me for life, this is not the approach I want to take with my children. (Sorry mom!)

First of all, girls are different than boys.  I know there is nothing she could have or can ever say to make me shut up.  I have always and will always talk to my mom.  But like I said, girls are different than boys.  There will come a time, when my boys are teens, and they just stop talking.  It's typical teenage boy talk.  "How was your day?" "Fine" "How was school?" "Boring" "Did you learn anything?" "No".  But I think that that might make me more exasperated than playing 20 (thousand) questions!  At that point, I may scream "GIVE ME MORE QUESTIONS!" 

One of the best pieces of parenting advice I've ever heard was that if you want your children to talk to you about the BIG stuff later on, then you've got to talk to them about the LITTLE stuff now.  Because even though it may seem like LITTLE stuff to you, it's probably BIG stuff to them.  And you've gotta always keep them talking… never to close the lines of communication. If the lines of communication get closed right now, it's 100% my fault and 100% due to my selfishness.  

I don't want to be the mom that yells "NO MORE QUESTIONS!".  I want to be the mom that continues through 3 or 7 or 38 rounds of 20 questions.  I want to be the mom who practices her patience and shows grace and love to her children.  I want to be the mom who says "well, let's find out" and opens up her laptop.  I want to scour the web searching for answers with my kids and seeing them connect the dots and find new things to ponder over.  I want to be the mom that encourages their inquisitiveness and develops their desire for learning more and knowing more.  

But how can I become that mom if I'm not willing to answer a hundred questions about where the tow truck is going?  If I'm not willing to answer those questions, why would he trust me to answer any other ones he has?

So, I'm challenging myself to become the mom I want to be.  I'm going to continue to take deep breaths and brace myself for the longest game of 20 questions I've ever played… even if it lasts years!  

And hopefully it will.