A Day of Whys

I’ve been reading for years about children who are constantly asking “why,“ and I kept wondering when we were going to experience that in our house. Well, the hour has arrived.

Photo: Always curious, always thinking, always taking it all in.

We generally try to respond to Lucy’s “whys“ with honest answers, although the questions do pile up on each other sometimes in a mind-boggling way. My favorite parenting book recommends turning the question back on the child (“Hmmm, you wonder about why the sky is blue. What do you think?”) based on the idea that children sometimes already have an idea of the answer in their minds — but this isn’t often the case in our experience. Sometimes, immediately after you spend considerable time responding to a question, Lucy will ask the exact same question yet again (in a Derek Zoolander, “But why male models?” sort of way). I think Lucy sometimes finds the question more interesting than the answer. There is magic in asking “Why do clouds live in the sky?” — but an answer that includes fairies would feel much more interesting than one based on temperature variation and moisture.

Last weekend, we took our family out for a day in the country for apple-picking and a Wisconsin wedding. With all that time in the car, I had the perfect opportunity to record a full day of Lucy’s “whys.” We hope you enjoy the reading as much as she enjoyed the asking!

There are a lot here, but even so I’m pretty sure we missed some:

  • Why does Officer Buckle have a star? Why does Officer Buckle have a badge? (Discussing one of our latest favorite library books with Papa.)
  • What are comets for? Why are they super-fast?
  • Why do the leaves turn red?
  • Why do the leaves fall off?
  • Why do I have to wear glasses?
  • Why did my eye get weak?
  • Why do apples sometimes hang on trees?
  • Why are we not going to have a bath? [talking about how we’ll be out late that evening]
  • Why do some undergrounds [underground garages] have echoes?
  • Why do cars have tires?
  • Why are we on the highway for a long time?
  • Why are all those trucks on that truck that is driving? [observing a car transporter]
  • Why does corn grow?
  • Why is Libby [one of our babysitters] in Spain?
  • Why do these cheese curds have cheese inside? [we had arrived at Culver’s for lunch]
  • When some people get old, why do they have warts sometimes?
  • Why are all those dots on there? [observing the Braille markings on the diaper changing table in a public bathroom]
  • Why is there blue soap?
  • Why is the wedding in Wisconsin?
  • Why is he running around the track? [observing a man jogging]
  • Why are there sometimes farms in Wisconsin?
  • Why are there pins on there? [observing the kick-mat on the back of Papa’s seat]
  • Why does it hold the strap together?
  • Why did you want to hold it tight?
  • Why does it protect the seat from kicking feet?
  • Why does that mat cover it up?
  • Why do people put earplugs in their ears?
  • Why do scarecrows scare away the bird crows?
  • Why is there a rope there?
  • Why are there all these cars parked on the grass? [we had arrived at our apple-picking destination]
  • Why is there a sidewalk?
  • Why do the apples fall off the tree?
  • Why are we going super fast? [as we passed a car, slightly late for the wedding]
  • Why are weddings long?
  • Why can we see in the dark?
  • Why do little babies not get married?
  • Why do some people have white wedding dresses?
  • Why does that stop sign have some lights on it?
  • Why was the wedding in Wisconsin?

Good questions, Lucy! Keep them coming.

4 Replies to “A Day of Whys”

  1. They do love their questions! Benjamin is at the point now where he’ll answer a question when you ask it back to him. Especially if it’s something we’ve talked about a bunch of times. Now Benjamin and Ella will get into fights over who is “talking to Mommy” because they’ll both be asking questions at the same time. So we’ve had to institute turns. When one finishes, then the other can ask their question. It’s going to be truly crazy when we add Isabelle into the mix!

  2. We are just getting over the “why?” stage with Ben and are now starting it with Caroline. Lately Ben’s questions consist more of trying to figure out numeric things like how many feet are in a mile and thus how many feet are in 26.2 miles (since his curiosity was peaked by the marathon). And we went to the beach yesterday to play in the sand and he wanted to know how many miles the lake was across to Michigan. Most of these things are not things that I know off the top of my head, so we end up having to look up most of them. I’m actually enjoying this phase, though it is testing my math skills (he is also very interested in the idea of multiplying, so will ask “Mommy, what are 4 6’s?”)

  3. What a wonderful list of questions! I’m so happy that Lucy is keeping Mama and Papa on their toes during a long drive. Was the answer ever ‘because’? Oh, I cannot quite imagine that with the family surrounding Lucy. And I KNOW that more great questions are simply percolating within Roz at this very moment. Thanks for sharing one more beautiful event in parenting. I send you my love…

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