Sunday, September 14, 2008

Please Excuse my "Why?"-ning

I read or heard or saw somewhere a while ago on TV, or radio, or on the Internet (how's that for citing a source) that a typical 4-year-old asks an average of 400 questions a day. When I heard (or read or saw) that I thought "that can't be right?"

Now I have a 4-year-old.

Not that Ella didn't ask a lot of questions before she turned 4, but in the last month her inquisitiveness has been on overdrive. About 250 of her allotted questions start with why. "Why are you doing that?" Why is that blue?" "Why are we going somewhere?" "Why are we watching TV?" About 140 a day are "What" questions "What's that?" "What are you doing?" and my personal favorite, "What kind?"

***Side note: The typical "what kind?" conversation goes like this:
Ella: "What kind of food are we having for dinner?

Me: Cheese sandwiches.

Ella: What kind of Cheese sandwiches are we having for dinner?
Me: Grilled cheese sandwiches.

Ella: What kind of grilled cheese sandwiches are we having for dinner?

Me: The kind that you like.

Ella: What kind of grilled cheese sandwiches that I like?

Me: Go wash your hands it's almost time for dinner.

Jacob, and I had a conversation a while ago, during which we decided that we would try to answer all of our kid's questions with real answers. We wanted to avoid resorting to the standard "Because" reply. This discussion took place pre-children, of course, before I realized just how many answers I would have to come up with. I am slowly learning that I don't really have to answer every question. A lot of her questions are just rhetorical musings, and don't really require answers. Or she simply wants me to repeat the question back to her so that she can tell me what theory she's come up with.

"Mom, Why is the sky blue?"
"Why do you think the sky is blue?"
"Because the sun is up, and it's day time."
(Sounds good to me)

Occasionally, I think she just wants to know that I'm listening to her, and a "because," works quite well.

"Mom, why do you like ice cream?"
"Because I do."

Sometimes the hard part is deciding which questions she really wants/needs real answers to. We get roughly 10 questions a day that are pretty insightful, and thought provoking. The kind that require some thought on our part. Most recently these questions have been of the eternally centered variety.

"Why do we pray?"
"It's how we talk to our Heavenly Father."
"But, why do we pray to our Heavenly Father?"
"Because He likes it when we talk to him."
"But, why do we pray before we eat?"
"So we can tell Him thank-you for our blessings."
"But, who is Heavenly Father?"

Jacob, why don't you take that one.


Ashlie said...

Love the picture! The good news is once the second one starts asking why everything when the older is around they sometimes make it their duty to give all the answers. Which, in itself, can be quite amusing. :)

Andi said...

I thought of this post while on a walk tonight. Paige asked 4 questions all in one breath. Then, continued asking question throughout the entire walk.

Most of the time it's fine. But, when I feel like we are in a hurry or my patience is thin, it's all I can do to not yell back, "BECAUSE!".

Troy and Nancee said...

I like the idea of throwing the question back at the child. I never thought of that. I will have to try it.

Elisha said...

Ella is so beautiful. I love the hat. The what kind of questions crack me up. Now I see what I have to look forward to. hehe