The kid asks questions like it’s his job.

Before I had a son, I would see these moms in stores. The moms would be pushing a cart perhaps, or maybe just waiting in line at a ice cream shop, and the kid would ask some question.

Kid              What kind of ice cream is that?

The mom wouldn’t answer, would instead close her eyes and almost wince.

The kid would continue.

Kid              What is ice cream made of?

Mom          Milk.

Kid              Can I have three kinds?

Mom          No.

Kid              I don’t like that kind. What’s that?

Mom          It’s a ice cream freezer.

Kid              Is there ice cream in that freezer?

Mom           Yes, it’s an ice cream freezer.

Kid              What does an ice cream freezer do?

Mom           It freezes ice cream.

Kid              Why?

The imperceptible wince again.

Mom           I don’t know.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I would judge this mom, this mom who wouldn’t answer, would say I don’t know, would wince. “We’re all thinking people,” I would think, “answer the child, the child is curious, how wonderful for you to have a curious child, why are you squashing that impulse? What is the matter with you?” I would think these things about the mom.

I knew, for real and for true, that if I had a child, and they asked me questions, I would endeavor to answer them, and if we couldn’t find the answer, we would research it, until the subject had been exhausted, and we were satisfied that we knew everything there is to know about it, even ice cream freezers.

My son asks questions. I appreciate and encourage his curiosity.

In theory.

In practice, however, it goes a little something like this…

So we’re in the car the other day, driving to the beach house, to spend a few days surrounded by no one, by nothing but crashing waves and some piping plovers.

The child sat in the back, where children sit, and looked out the window. I sat in the front and looked out the window, experiencing a tense moment in which I appreciated the silence just as I knew it could not last.

C                Can I have a pretzel?

I pass him a pretzel.

C                No no, not this kind.

Me              That’s the kind we have.

C                But I don’t like this kind.

Me              Then don’t have a pretzel

C                But I want a pretzel!

Me              Here is your pretzel

He crunches the pretzel.

Me              Thank you?

C                Thank you mommy.

Maybe 20 seconds go by.

C                What kind of truck is that?

Me              It’s a gas truck.

C                Is that a gas truck?

Me              That is a gas truck.

C                What is a gas truck?

Me              It’s a truck that carries gas.

C                That truck carries gas?

Me              Yes, because it’s a gas truck.

C                What kind of truck is that?

Me              It’s a gas truck.

C                I think that’s a gas truck.

Me              Yes, that’s a gas truck.

C                Is that truck carrying gas?

Me              Yes.

C                But what is a gas truck?

Me              It’s a truck that carries gas.

C                But what kind of truck is that?

Me              I don’t know.

C                But what kind of truck is that?

Me              I don’t know.

C                I think it’s a blue truck.

Me              It looks blue to me.

C                But what do blue trucks do?

Me              I don’t know honey, I don’t know about all the trucks on the road.

C                Why not?

Me              They come from all different places. I wasn’t at their origination points.

C                What’s an origination point?

Me              I don’t know.

C                What kind of truck is that?

Me              I don’t know.

C                But what does that thing do?

Me              It’s a construction vehicle.

C                That’s a construction vehicle?

Me              Yes.

C                What does a construction vehicle do?

Me              What do you think that one does?

C                It’s a loader. It loads things.

Me              I think that’s right.

C                Is that a rescue motor?

I say I don’t know. I wince. I want him to ask questions, and find answers. It turns out, I just don’t want him to always ask them to me.

I think I need to teach him how to research.

Even better, how to construct a hypothesis, then investigate.

I’m glad I wrote this! Great new idea!

I’m now open to any links involving science experiments for pre-schoolers, who are rising pre-K.

"This is how big I am."

“This is how big I am.”

2014-04-19 10.08.17

The path to the beach.

The path to the beach. New sea grass on the dune.

Sunny, albeit it chilly.

Sunny, albeit it chilly.

Candy for Easter breakfast.

Candy and Veggie Tales for Easter breakfast.

I’m now open to any links involving science experiments for pre-schoolers, who are rising pre-K.

 

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5 thoughts on “The kid asks questions like it’s his job.

      1. carol

        the questions are exhausting,no doubt. The time will move so quickly that you will wish he still bothered to ask you…..

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