When you're elbows deep in cooking, dishes, feeding the dog, wiping up some strange mess, packing lunches and sorting the recycling then, your kiddo looks at you and asks "why" every five seconds. It seems easy to just simply retort "because I said so" or "I don't know." I get it. I feel like I live in this space constantly, but I decided a long time ago not to cheat him out of the answers he looking for just because either I'm overwhelmed or can literally say I just don't know the answer to the questions he's asking. He deserves more than that. Actually, we both do. "Why can't I jump off the roof?" Answer them honestly. "Why can't I eat candy at night?" Answer them honestly. These questions are about safety or respect and boundaries and we all have them and we all need to be answered honestly when we have questions. All of us. Now I'm not implying my son is some sort of prodigy or genius or any of that, but his "why" questions have gotten quite deep lately. I'm taking this opportunity to listen, to REALLY listen and to try my best to get where he's coming from. Do we really know who our children are? We think we know who they are. We created and raise them and so we think that gives us some automatic insight into who and what these tiny humans are all about...but are we right? DO WE REALLY KNOW? Or are we just assuming we know.
I was prepared to answer "why the boys have a penis and girls don't", or "why he can't use the F-Word at Target", or even "why Mommy bleeds when she pees sometimes."(Yup, I've been asked all of those at the most in opportune times...like in line at the movies, or just before hearing the specials at A niceish restaurant filled with people.) I wasn't prepared to answer questions I had never thought of before...like "Why did Tim Burton write Nightmare Before Christmas?" Or "Why George Lucas create Star Wars?" Or the best yet "Why do brains help me use my imagination? What makes brains work?" I'll be honest. It takes a while to explain things, and for the most part I have to google or ask Siri A LOT of questions. I'm totally OK with my child knowing that I don't know everything. It's the truth, its honest. If he knew that I knew everything he would stop trying to know things. He would assume it just all comes with growing up. IT DOESN'T! His search for knowledge is my search. His imagination is helping me use mine. His creativity is sparking my creativity. That's the journey here, folks. This is what all those "Whys" and "What does this do" questions are all about. Growing, learning, changing, testing their knowledge.
If they ask you a question try. I know that sometimes it's hard and we get busy and maybe the answer is complicated or difficult to explain, but answer them. If you need to, look it up. Some of my best memories growing up were looking up answers to things in the encyclopedias that lined the shelves in our room. There is something truly wonderful about what we learn outside of the classroom. Those questions are not just their way of figuring out the world, but as a way to relate to it and to YOU! They want to know who you are, what you like, what makes you happy. The never-ending questions are annoying and sometimes even just bad timing, but answer them. Put down the dishes or the recycling or work or whatever it is that seems like it can't wait and help them find what they're looking for...it may just be that little extra with you, talking to you, looking this and that up online or in a book with you that is really what they're seeking.