Maybe…

“I don’t know” is not a sufficient answer for Kojo. Some attempt to provide a response is a sign of love for him. When he asks a question, you must muster up some kind of hypothesis or make an effort to apply a place holder until further information can be found. I have been unsuccessfully trying to get him to share his own theories for a long time now. 

“What do you think?” I will answer. His face crinkles and the shine on his cheeks dims. After a few moments, he will ask again. 

If we walk into a shop or restaurant and we hear a baby crying, he will undoubtedly ask, “Why is she crying?”

“I don’t know,” I will respond. “What do you think?”

“Say, ‘Maybe…’ ok?” He will urge me to come up with something quick.

“Maybe she’s hungry and wants some milk,” I finally give in.

While reading stories, Kojo studies the images intently. He is especially drawn to unusual facial expressions. “What is he saying?” He will ask without looking up from the page.

I predictably respond, “What do you think?”

Although I try to pause in order give him wait time, he has yet to answer or contribute his own take on things. I catch his gaze move upward which indicates that lots of thinking is going on. 

“Why is that man making that face?”

“I don’t know. What do you think?”

Pause. 

“Say ‘maybe…’ ok?” He urges.

“Maybe he’s watching the game hoping his team is going to hit the next home run,” I respond.

“What are they saying?

“I don’t know. What do you think?”

Pause. 

“Say ‘maybe…’ ok?” He urges.

“Maybe she is saying that she wants to play with the doll and the other girl says that it is hers.” I respond.

“Why are they fighting?”

“I don’t know. What do you think?”

Pause. 

“Say ‘maybe…’ ok?” He urges.

“Maybe he doesn’t know how to use words yet and he’s upset because his feelings are hurt,” I respond.

“Why is she covering her ears?”

“I don’t know. What do you think?”

Pause. 

“Say ‘maybe…’ ok?”

“Maybe the music is too loud coming from those huge speakers and she’s asking him to turn it down.”

“And what is he saying?”

“I don’t know. What do you think?”

Pause. 

“Say ‘maybe…’ ok?”

“Maybe he says, ‘Ok. I’ll go turn it down.’” I answer impatiently. 

And to my utter surprise, after so many failed opportunities, “No,” he interrupts confidently, “He is saying, ‘I LIKE IT LOUD!’”

3 thoughts on “Maybe…

  1. Oh my goodness. This post – the dialogue, the illustrations, the “Say
    ‘maybe..ok?” repetition. You’ve captured something here that you’ll treasure years from now. I already do.

    Like

  2. Loved to read the exchange you had with your child. The repetition made the writing so powerful. At the same time I could imagine the two of you together and it filled my heart with warmth. And what a lovely surprise in the end. I was ready for you to say “Maybe.”

    Like

  3. “Say, ‘Maybe…’ ok?” What a powerful example you have set for him – and what wonderful writing. The repetition, the way your quiet concern shows up intermingled with your patience. Kojo’s gentle prompting, the way he has internalized your thinking before he can use it. And – oh! – the ending! I can’t wait to hear what else Kojo comes up with.

    Like

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