I’m in a deep, heavenly sleep. The type where I feel like I’ve melted deep into the mattress, and have become one with the blankets that hold me in a lover’s embrace. Completely oblivious to anything around me.
My favourite recurring dream is playing out in my mind. The one where it’s just me, a boxing ring, and ABC2’s Jimmy Giggle. No cameras. No crowd. Nowhere to hide. Giggle, in his yellow pyjamas, looking terrified as he pleads and apologises for his appalling television presence over and over again in his fingernails-on-blackboard voice.
The bell rings to start the first round and we come together in the centre of the ring. Giggle still frantically apologising for ‘The Night Watch (hoot hoot)’ song as I raise my fists and prepare to exact revenge on behalf of tormented parents all around Australia. Just as I’m about to smite him clean out of the ring and into the middle of next week, Giggle shoots out a glove and grabs me firmly by the shoulder. It catches me completely by surprise. Wait a minute. This wasn’t part of the script! Whose bloody dream is this? Although his hand on my shoulder feels small – almost childlike – his grip is strong. He starts shaking me, and I notice that he’s no longer apologising. Instead he’s just repeating “dad…….dad…….dad” over and over.
As my conscious mind slowly engages, Giggle’s terrified features are replaced by those of my five year old son, Focker #1. Standing next to the bed in his superman onesie and tousled blond locks. Shaking me insistently by the shoulder.
I squint through my one open bleary eye and check the bedside clock. 05:11 in the morning. Fuck.
“OK, I’m awake.” I grumble through my dry lips. “What is it mate?”
“Dad – how much kilograms does my head weigh?”
And there it is. The very first of what will end up being approximately 1,000 completely random, often nonsensical questions that I’m likely to field from Focker #1 today.
Like a lot of five year olds, he has an amazingly inquisitive mind. Usually I love it. The randomness and quirkiness of his thought processes. The mysterious way in which his rapidly developing brain works. The cuteness of his less than perfect grammar as he searches for the right way to phrase a question.
Just lately though, that inquisitive mind has gone into full blown hyperdrive. And as the at-home parent, as well as the resident fountain of knowledge – at least in his eyes – I’m on the receiving end of this constant inquisition. It no longer feels like a cute conversation. More like a full blown frontal assault as he relentlessly throws question after crazy question at me.
Most of the questions come completely out of the blue, with no obvious context, and he fires them with ruthless rapidity. Usually while my mind is focussed on completing some other important task like executing a French braid on Focker #2’s head, or operating the remote on the Apple TV. Some of the questions are baffling. Some of them are surprisingly insightful. Some of them are pretty damn funny. Some of them are just plain weird. Some of them are frustrating because I have absolutely no idea how to answer them in a way that won’t just lead to further difficult questions. I try to answer his questions factually and truthfully when I can. When I can’t, I usually resort to poor-taste humour, sarcasm, or I just do this ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ . Sometimes I answer his question with another question, in which case it’s his turn to look confused and do the shrug thing.
I decided to record just some of questions that came my way over a one hour period. This is so when my head finally does spontaneously explode and splatter my grey matter everywhere within a 3 metre radius, there will at least be some sort of paper trail for the CSI guys to follow as they piece together my final moments.
F#1: Dad who would win in a swimming race between you and Usain Bolt?
Me: You do know that he is a runner and not a swimmer don’t you?
F#1: Yes but I know that you would have no chance of beating him in a running race Dad. Der…
F#1: Dad which is bigger? A full grown sperm whale or our house?
Me: He he, sperm….
F#1: Dad did you know that why did the chicken cross the road to get to the other side isn’t even a real joke?
Me: *pauses to consider the logic*. Fair call son. Fair call.
F#1: Dad would a tarantula eat a baby human head first or feet first?
Me: You’re a twisted individual, did you know that?
F#1: Dad would a staple in your forehead hurt or would it just bleed a lot?
Me: I can’t be certain, but I suspect both. Should we try it?
F#1: Dad do all the children in the world watch Dinosaur Train?
Me: I’m not sure that it’s a high priority for the Massai children in their cow dung huts on the Serengeti.
F#1: Dad what would happen if you made a slingshot for a frisbee and it took the swing out of the frisbee?
F#1: Dad can you marry water?
Me: You probably could buddy, but the logistics could be challenging at times. Especially consummation.
F#1: Dad what’s consummation?
Me: Hey do you want to watch whatever you want on Netflix?
F#1: Dad are you the strongest person in the world or just in your gym?
Me: *puffs chest out* The world son. Definitely the world.
F#1: Dad if a flood washed through my bedroom while I was sleeping and washed away my bed, would I just stay there floating in the air while I was sleeping?
Me: *shakes head in bewilderment* How do you even come up with this shit?
F#1: Dad don’t say shit.
I love that kid with the fierce intensity of one thousand burning suns, but by crikey this shit gets exhausting. So exhausting in fact that I’m going to have to go and have a lay down and a bit of a nap. I might even see if I can pick up where I left off with Jimmy Giggle, and settle things once and for all – before the next bombardment commences.