The other 99.9% are completely useless chatter - the proverbial talking just to hear herself talk.
I could be stirring something in a pot on the stove, and Helen will ask me, "Mommy, what are you doing?" Or I could be watching a football game on TV, and she will ask me, "Mommy, are you watching football?" Brian comes into the kitchen after putting on his coat and getting ready to leave for work, and Helen will ask him, "Daddy, where did you get that coat?"
I realize asking questions is the only way a 3-year old will learn anything. God knows I'm doing a horrible job of teaching her. But the questions. Good lord. There are times that I pick her up from daycare where my day has been busy and I'm exhausted, and I know before I even head home, I need to go to the grocery store and figure out what to have for dinner. So the last thing I need is a long list of questions to answer. But I have spent the entire commute screwing up my courage to the sticking point and then the whole way home forcing myself to answer as many questions as I can. No matter how many I answer, or how hard I work on being patient and helpful and friendly - there are times when I reach my limit. "Enough with the questions!" I tell Helen. That's usually when she will respond with, "Mommy?" Oh, yes - one more question. Just what I wanted.
Conversation with Helen is fine. I enjoy talking to her, and hearing her describe her day, and telling me about her friends. It's when she decides to chatter, just to hear herself talk, and especially when I'm trying to get other things done, that the nerves start to fray. I tell her to shush when I'm feeding the baby, because her talking will distract the nursing process. I usually have to tell her twelve times to shush. Her favorite response to "Shhh!" is "But Mommy ..."
Whoever talked about Terrible Twos must have offed the kids before they reached three, because THREE IS WAY WORSE.
So, about a month ago one of Helen's teachers left to care for a family member, and I finally met the new one about a week ago. When I introduced myself, she said, "Oh, I love Helen. She's very ... inquisitive." Yes, Dear Reader, the teacher PAUSED and made up a nice long word to describe my child. I couldn't help but laugh. She had no idea that both my mom and my sister are teachers, and I'm more than familiar with this kind of doublespeak.
Anyway, I told the new teacher that if Helen got a little overwhelming with the questions, the code word to make it all stop is, "Helen, enough questions." She said, "No, she's fine. Very sweet little girl." And I said "Thank you," but what I was thinking was "LIAR!" Must have caught her right after a bunch of Helen's questions, don't you think?
Which reminds me - a tidbit to share with you from one of my favorite bloggers, Mimi Smartypants, who talks about her daughter, Nora. Somehow, this feels like a preview of my future:
Third quarter report cards for kindergarten are out---mostly a collection of letters, W for "well-developed skill," P for "partially developed," and I forget what else, maybe C for crappy? Something like that. In the narrative portion of the card the teacher wrote, "Nora had an excellent academic quarter. She has a lot of knowledge to share." Oh yes, teacher-lady, I feel you. Nora has a lot of knowledge to share, and share, and share.