I grew up a very curious soul. And I’ve always actually looked forward to having curious kids. I couldn’t wait for them to start talking and asking questions so I could show them the world and how it works.
I wasn’t going to be a parent who used “just because”. I was going to educate and elucidate.
But it turns out that toddler questions aren’t the great learning exercise I expected. And while they do indeed have an insatiable curiosity, it’s often applied to mundane things.
“Daddy why does the moon change shape?” is interesting. “Daddy, why are cornflakes orange?” is not as interesting not to mention a lot harder to answer.
In fact it’s all too frequently a great challenge answering questions from those incapable of wiping their own bottom.
I’ve discovered there are roughly three ways to answer a toddler question. Take the following query for example:
“Why is my reflection upside down in a spoon Daddy?”
You really have three options.
a) Because concave surfaces reflect inversely
b) Because the spoon is curved.
Now I know most of you are thinking option b) but that is a trap. Because their immediate follow-up question will be “why?” and you will probably have to resort to a) or c) anyway.
Nothing is straight forward and “Why?” is currently the bane of my existence. Those three letters often leave me exasperated. Not because they’re being asked but because they’re being asked beyond the point of being able to provide an answer.
You can explain how things fly (lift force) and why they fall (gravity) but how do you respond when they ask WHY gravity sucks things down? Or WHY solids can’t pass through solids?
You get to a point where where they’re asking the why about principles/theories/laws that we simply accept. It’s also – scientifically speaking – the point at which your mind just explodes.
One of these days they’re going to ask “why are you hitting your head against the wall Daddy?”
Just because honey. Just because.