Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Like any well-adjusted four-year-old, Jude has a lot of questions. This is a good thing--to question things is a trait that God gave us along with our brain. It's part of what makes us human. However, there are a few recurring "faves" that I think reveal some things about his personality. Here are the top three questions I hear from Jude daily, more often than not multiple times a day:

1. "Why?" (Shocker, I know.) This is said without thought, a knee-jerk response to whatever it is I tell him. That wouldn't be so bad if I didn't know that the answer I give him will be treated with an equal amount of contemplation. More often than not, as soon as I tell him the answer he will repeat the question. In fact, a parenting course I went through once went to great lengths to explain the verse "Fathers, do not exasperate your children," saying that we shouldn't just tell our kids to do something without reason. At the age of three, when they reach the age of reason, you shouldn't just say, loudly and in front of their friends, "Don't eat that ice cream!" Instead, you should expand and explain, "Don't eat your ice cream over the carpet, because you might drip and make a mess. Please move over to the linoleum."

Thanks to this, I follow nearly every command I give (unless I think it self-explanatory) with a "because..." statement. Still, as soon as the period has left my mouth, I hear "Why?" I JUST SAID WHY!!! So much for saving my breath. Does it say anything in there about children not exasperating their parents? Not that I remember--it's pretty much a given that kids are going to do that.

My usual response to this question that has been uttered by pre-schoolers throughout the millennia: "Why do you think?"

Because he usually knows the answer already. See what I mean? Knee-jerk.

2. "What are we having for (breakfast/lunch/supper)?" I'm not sure if this stems from an inherent interest in cooking, a need to know so he can have some semblance of feeling in control of his life, or so he can steel himself for the worst. Due to the pickiness of his eating, I'm going with the latter. It wouldn't be so bad if he hadn't decided about a year ago that he just does not like onions. Sadly, I have never learned the skill of making food taste good without onions in it, and really don't desire to, so Jude has learned early the art of "picking it out." The only compromise I make here is to blend them into soups whenever possible, because I am fairly certain it is the texture more than the flavour that bothers him.

He does love breakfast, though. I think he asks what's for breakfast before bed each night because he wants to anticipate it until morning, especially if it is a favourite such as pancakes or shakes.

3. "Who's coming over today/Where are we going today?" This is technically two questions, but they are usually used together, especially if the answer to the first one is "no one" and the second one is "no where." (He asks them in no particular order.)

Jude has been a social butterfly from the day he was born--always gregarious and smiley, eager to go visit people. He went through a shy, clingy period when we first moved up here which has mostly dissipated, only rearing its ugly head on rare occasions when the group of kids we are encouraging him to go play with is very large and contains lots of kids he doesn't know. I am hoping that going to kindergarten this fall will help give him the confidence he needs to realize he can make friends with strangers all on his own, especially since it turns out that he really won't know anyone in his class. However, it is a mark of how often we DO go places and/or have company that he doesn't ask if anyone is coming over, or if we are going anywhere, but just assumes it will happen. Mostly because on the few days a week I am not babysitting or entertaining, I usually end up having to go somewhere to run errands. I am a homebody, but a social one, so while I like the way things are, sometimes it's a relief to have a day with no one to see and nowhere to go. Sadly, Jude doesn't see the thrill of that, yet.

I love that he asks questions. I hope that he continues to question everything, throughout his life. I also hope that Jason and I can teach him to apply his brainpower to both the question, and the response, so that his questioning is productive and useful.

Some people never learn that skill. I pray that our children do.

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  1. "Why do you think?" is a good reply. I'll have to remember that one.

    I've always been a question asker so I'm relating to Jude - especially the why? question. I just don't usually say it aloud. I'm thinking it in my head - but WHY?

    You and J are doing a great job. :)


  2. Hey Colleeeeeeeen! That was fun to type. Anyway, I am a "why?" person, too. I didn't understand a single thing in math until I found a teacher who could explain the WHY behind the equation, not just the HOW.

    And thanks!

  3. Wow! I can't wait for Ayaan to get to this age... sounds frustrating but also fun!


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