Everyone knows toddlers ask lots of questions. The “why?” phase is dreaded right up there with the “terrible twos” or the thought of having a “threenager”. One study found mothers are asked nearly 300 questions a day (article)! That’s an average of one question every 2.6 minutes.
Honestly, that statistic feels a little conservative if you ask me. Based on my own personal experience, the questions are basically nonstop. I guess, sometimes Eddie’s mouth is full or he’s asleep, so maybe it’s an accurate average. Maybe. My son wasn’t part of the study though, so the jury’s still out.
Let me put it this way, he’s an avid questioner. And it can be exhausting. Given that I may be short on sleep (thanks to the baby), I’m an introvert, I enjoy quiet, and I’m simply not one to naturally wonder how many leaves might be growing on that tree over there, the questions at times do exhaust me. I remember one evening after a particularly long day, driving home from running errands I just wanted to space out and let autopilot drive me home (remember those glorious days of drive-time being a chance to jam to your favorite tunes or catch up on the news? Yeah, me too. *Sigh*) But, to my chagrin, the backseat was a never ending stream of chatter and queries. In desperation I told Eddie I was too tired, and could we please just not talk on the way home? His response was something like, “But I like to talk!” To which I responded, “Then how about you talk and I’ll just be quiet and listen?” Unfortunately, he was not all over that idea.
“Mom, can we put a number on our car?”
“I guess we could, but why?”
“Well…I really want it to be a racecar!”
Other times, thankfully, I can’t get enough of his questions! I mean, how adorable is that sweet little brain with only a few short years of experience (most of that un-recallable!) trying to make sense of the world and figure out how it all works? The questions are often hilarious, sometimes make me furrow my brow and wonder why I never thought of that, and now and then downright poignant. The questions are a glimpse into his monstrous, insatiable curiosity and delight in the world of which he’s a citizen. His quest to understand and learn is absolutely mind-blowing while simultaneously fills my mother-heart to overflowing! Can I get an “Amen!”?
“Why do things not fly, except airplanes and helicopters?” (Right after chucking a book across the living room.)
It’s called gravity. Good question.
“Is this the end of the world?” (As we drive away from the beach.)
Well, the world is round…so, no, but I see why you might think so.
Nothing will make you feel more stupid than trying to answer the simplest of the 300 questions daily thrown my way! I mean, really. “Why is that a chair?” Ummm…because it is. Even more demeaning, I once gave the honest answer, “Hmm, I don’t know, “ to which he responded, “I bet Dad knows.” Ha! Yes, he probably does. Then why don’t you go ask him!
Soon after that interchange Eddie asked me what an expert was. I explained that an expert is someone who knows a lot about a particular thing. As an example, “You know, like you’re a Thomas [the Train] expert because you know a lot about Thomas and all his friends.” This guy doesn’t miss a beat. Later, when Dad, ever the rocket scientist, addressed a whole string of why questions with an explanation that went something along the lines of “because if the airplane’s paint got scratched it might change the emissivity of the surface, and then the sun’s radiation would cause it to get hotter, which could lead to thermal fatigue.” Eddie was wowed.
“Dad, you’re an airplane expert.” (Not true, but don’t you love a little boy’s adoration of his Dad?) “And I’m a Thomas expert!”
You go, kiddo. Hey, you’ve got to start somewhere. True experts are the ones who keep on asking the right questions.
2 thoughts on “Figuring Out How the World Works”
One day when she was 2 or 3, I tried to write down all the questions Ani had asked me – it’s pretty funny to look at today. Loving your site!