These days Chickie asks a lot of "What would happen if...?" questions.
"Chickie, don't be so rough with your brother; you'll hurt him."
"And what would happen if I hurt him? Would we have to go to the hospital?"
Some of these questions make sense; others don't. The ones that don't make sense tend to frustrate me, especially when I'm in a hurry.
Recently Chickie was obsessed with a tiny, dead lizard on our driveway. Every time we went out to the car, she'd make a detour to visit the lizard. She was doing this one day, as I (in a hurry, as usual) not-so-gently urged her to get in her carseat. She got in the car, and asked me,
"What would happen if it's not a lizard?"
"Chickie," I responded impatiently, "that question doesn't even make sense." I buckled her in and headed to my seat.
Then it hit me--sure, the question didn't make sense. But maybe she just wanted me to be imaginative.
"If it wasn't a lizard," I said as we backed out of the garage, "maybe it would be a dog!"
Chickie giggled. "No-o-o!" she said. "What else would it be?"
And we went on like that, with me suggesting other animals the lizard could be.
I'll admit freely that I often tell Chickie, "No more questions!" My patience isn't even close to being limitless. But I'm also trying to learn to use my imagination, to sometimes follow the flights of fancy that delight my daughter.
Hey, a few questions and a little imagination probably don't hurt this old brain, either.