How to Interrogate a Toddler 2: My Sophomore Effort at Putting my Toddler on the Spot

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Sunday, February 23, 2020

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to brainstorm ideas to help me whip-up a unique plot for a children’s book. I’d like to write one before my daughter’s face is magnetized to a cell phone. Thus far, I haven’t had much luck doing this on my own, so I decided to ask my daughter for some help.  

I asked my three year-old, “what kind of book do you think would be really cool for me to read to you?” Her response was “I want a book where you ask me all of the questions.”

Her answer brought me no closer to writing a children’s story, but it did let me know that I should craft some more questions for her, record our conversation again, and document our interview.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post here about my first Q&A with my daughter (found at the end of this paragraph) and noted that her and I bonded from doing our first 20 – 25 minute interview. Her enthusiasm was easy to see. I gave her my curious, undivided attention and some of the questions I asked were questions she doesn’t usually hear. Her continued interest in answering my questions has stayed strong — she asked me last hour while I was working on this “could you ask me some more questions?!”

In my last post about interrogating my three year-old daughter, I wrote that I’d like to make this a tradition and do it every year around her birthday. Her birthday is in ten months, yet here I am. Some may say I’m “beating a dead horse.” If so, then fine by me. It won’t be the first dead horse I’ve beat.

Most of the time, history has shown us that sequels, spin-offs, and part II’s end up being sophomore slumps. Die-hard fans of the classic sitcom Friends know what I’m talking about.

Action movie classic, Speed, had to watch its younger family member, Speed 2, leave a blemish on the family name.

But It’s noteworthy to state that not all second editions have bombed. In fact, some have brought us important moments in Americana and world achievements.

Fans of Street Fighter II, The Godfather II, Terminator 2, Led Zeppelin II, & Frasier know that sometimes it’s OK to revisit and build off of something good from the past…

Without Home Alone 2, we would all be deprived of what is one of the most overlooked, and funniest moments in cinema history (clip on right). Daniel Stern struck comedic gold during his performance as Wet Bandit, Marv, in Home Alone‘s sequel. Being electrocuted is no laughing matter — unless it’s Marv in Home Alone 2. This scene has been a laughing matter for me for almost 30 years.

Armed with a broken rake and a document full of new questions, I let my inquiries rip!

Okay, I have more questions to ask you! YOU DO?!?! SURE DO!!!

1.) What does Daddy’s cologne smell like? “Um, like animals. Like warm animals and they’re happy.”

2.) Where does money come from?  “From my piggy bank.”

3.) Have you seen any new shows or movies recently that you liked a lot? Um, yes but I like the show about Fruity Pebbles. What show is that? “But what are the Fruity Pebbles names?” Ohhhhhh. The Flintstones.

4.) What’s Daddy’s favorite music?  “YIRVANA (Nirvana).”

5.) What’s Gam’s favorite music?  “Mmm.  Phil Collins, but sometimes she… she can’t find it.”

6.) What’s fun about being on stage? “Um, singing songs loud.”

7.) What’s it like going to a rock concert? “It’s sometimes loud and the, and the loud is fuzzy.”

8.) What do big kids get to do that you don’t get to do?  “Um, when I’m little they always forget kids for the park.”

9.) What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  “Fruity Pebbles with THE MILK!”

10.) What’s your favorite thing to eat for lunch? “Spaghet……….ti…. Tea. Spaghetti-tea, that’s silly!”

11.) What’s your favorite thing to eat for dinner? “Pasta, but not mac n cheese but a regular one of pasta.”

12.) What’s your favorite snack?  “Some peanut butter & jelly crackers.”

13.) What’s your favorite thing to do?  “Um.  When my baby is little, she can’t do stuff when I’m do stuff, because I hold her.  I take good care of her.  Yeah I do.”

14.) What’s your favorite thing about taking care of your baby? “About feeding her and about it’s hard about not gettin’ it on her bib. And takin’ the baby for a walk in the stroller.”

15.) Do you like it when I comb your hair? Yes because the comb is pink and it’s blue and it’s tick-a-lish.”

16.) Why is it important to exercise?  “Because when it’s my turn, I can give you a try for your turn.” (*thinking to myself “that’s either a great example of sharing, or a negotiation tactic to secure her next station in the gym).

17.) So, tell me all of the steps for when you go peepee on the potty.  “Um…  Did…  What?!” What do you do when you go peepee on the potty?  “When I go peepee in the potty I’m finishin’ when I’m finished then, um, flush.  Then wipe.”  Then what?  “Wipe.”

18.) Who is really nice?  “Um, Daddy!  Who else?  “The Muppet Babies.”

19.) Who is really mean? (*she pauses for 4 seconds) “Um, no one.”  Oh Good!  That’s great to hear, because you are a very nice girl!  “Yeah!”

20.) How come it rains? “Because it storms, because the the storm cloud, because when it’s sunny, it will go away!”

21.) What is your favorite fruit?  “Vegetables.”  Your favorite fruit is “vegetables?”  “Yeah.”

22.) Mmmkay, so Is there any fruit you don’t like?  “Mangos, no I don’t like mangos.”

23.) What is your favorite vegetable? “Uh, broccoli.”

24.) Is there a vegetable you don’t like“I actually like Fruity Pebbles and peanut butter and jelly crackers.”

25.) Who is your best friend?  “Bob.” 

26.) What’s your favorite thing to do outside?  “Play when you get some boots on…  My feet are not dirty.”

27.) What’s your favorite thing to do with Bob?  “Um, play tag.  And he goes – YOU’RE IT!”

28.) What’s your favorite thing to do inside?  “Play with Bob.”

29.) When it’s nighttime and you’re in bed about to go to sleep, what do you do?  “Um, I, I do something else with my baby when she’s too little when she cries when she needs to go to sleep I just tuck her in.”

30.) How tall are you?  “I’m big and strong.”

31.) How tall am I?  “Big.”

32.) What was Daddy like as a kid?  “Um, you wore my comfy shirt.”  (her favorite nightgown, which is a hand-me-down old soccer jersey of mine.”

33.) What do you like better?  Waking up or going to sleep?  “Um waking up, with my, my, because I wanna get all the animals in my room and play with them.”

34.) Would you rather have $100 dollars for you, or give someone $100 dollars who needed it?  “Um a hundred dollars, to give to someone else.” 

35.) How come people high-five? “On my hands.”  And why do people do that?  “Because you wanna high-five.”  And why do you wanna high-five?  “Because you wanna clap.”  And how come you wanna do that?  “Because you watched TV.”

36.) Do you have a favorite flower?  “Um, I just like it when it’s dark.  I just like it when it’s sunny.  I can just take a nap in the car.”  Gotcha???…

37.) How come birds can fly but we can’t?  “Because birds fly when people don’t.”  And how come?  “Because you can’t.”  Why can’t we?  “Because we don’t because birds fly.”  Right, and how do birds fly?  “Um, just like the silly Purple Guy, but he’s not enough to reach our car.”  That’s right.

38.) What’s your favorite adventure you and I have ever been on? “I’d like to camp with you on an adventure!” You’d like to go camping with me on an adventure? “YEAH!” Huh. Maybe we can do that one day!!!

39.) Do you remember any of the adventures we’ve been on? “Yes. I used to do, when. When Goofy was a kid, when he was a little monster, he used to be Dracula. Goofy used to be?!? “YEAH.” He was Dracula?! “Yeah.” Whoahohohoa. That’s scary. “I know it’s scary.” Wow. I know he was a thing for Halloween but he was! Because… I wanna have a bunch of the questions.” OK.

40.) Speaking of scary stuff — have you put anymore thought into what you want to be for Halloween this year?! “Um, a cheeeeeeetah and a vampire anddd, a skeleton and the sides of Elmo just like me because and a Bo Peep last year. WHOAHOHOHOA!!! “I LIKE TO BE ALL OF FOR HALLOWEEN THIS YEAR.” So you wanna be all five of those? “Yeah!” So you wanna be a combination of Bo Peep, Elmo, a skeleton, what else? “And then…” A vampire. “And then a cheeeeeetah.” And a cheetah, and a cheeeeetah, I forgot about that, OK, got it. OK! I’ll start looking up designs for that I guess, OK? That’ll be a fun costume. Ummmm.

“And it’s gonna be SCCEEUUAIRY (scary).” WHOAHOHOHOA it SUREHERHER is! She raised her arms and wiggled her fingers and said the word “scary” in some kind of weirdo, Saturday morning cartoons, wart-nosed witch voice, but if the witch also was a lunch lady.

“That’s not scary.” It’s gonna be scary. “That’s not a cheetah scary, it’s it’s the cheetah’s niiiice.” Oh, it’s a nice, cheetah. But, the cheetah’s also gonna be a vampire-skeleton? “No it’s not, a vampire or a skeleton. The cheetah’s NIIICE.” I seeeeeeee, okay okay, alright. Cool?! Ahhhright… Ummmm, hmmm.

My daughter blew my mind all throughout question 40, so I decided to end our interview right after it on a high note.

The vision behind a five character costume isn’t something I have. But I’m also the same numb-skull who thought the cheetah was going to be scary. Now i can’t even remember if the vampire-skeleton is supposed to be scary. All I can keep thinking about is her unexpected, brave “It’s gonna be sceeeeeeyeeeeury” voice that she added into her pitch costume sales pitch.

I’m proud of you, daughter! It’s the little things in life.