Every evening at around 8 o’clock, a familiar routine occurs. I give my daughter a bath, we brush our teeth, change into jammies and then read bedtime stories. Depending on the evening we would read between 3-5 books; ‘Steam Train Dream Train usually, ‘Go Dog Go’ & maybe ‘Humphrey’s Bedtime’ to name a few. These days it takes much longer to get through a story than normal. Why you might ask? Why indeed! The “Why?” phase has entered the building & it brought with it it’s friend’s “What’s that?” & “I want that.”
This can be a hard phase, not because it is particularly difficult, but it can sometimes get a tad tiresome. I vowed to myself that I would always answer all of her questions. When I was young I was an inquisitive child & I had a family member tell me that I was being annoying after I asked a series of questions. I was very young, but I still can remember how stung I was by that comment, so I promised myself that I would never ignore or mock my children’s questions when all they are trying to do is learn. Answering the same question 20 different ways can get old quickly though, especially when you are tired or busy. We spent 5 minutes on just the 1st page of ‘Steam Train Dream Train’ tonight. “Mama, why is that rock there?” “What’s that smoke coming out?” “Look! Why’s that rabbit running?” When we flipped to page 2, it turned out we still were not yet done with page 1. “What’s that word say?”
The funny thing about these questions is that most of the time they are to things she already knows. Perhaps she is quizzing me to see if I actually know what it is.
“Mama, what’s that?”
“A black ant”
“A small black ant”
Maybe she wants me to elaborate on what it is in more detail or maybe she asks to show me that she knows the answer. Maybe she just enjoys talking to me or maybe she is toying with me already at only age 2. She must get that last part from my husband.
I know that this is just the beginning of this stage of toddler life. The whats & whys will just get more frequent. I try to answer her questions very thoroughly, often adult-like in hopes of satisfying every answer, but this often produces more questions. This should make me glad. I guess in the end we should be happy that our children are inquisitive and thirsty for knowledge. At times it may be difficult, but if parents are indeed the best teachers then we need to feed our children all the answers that we have to give and enjoy the days of them coming to us for the answers. So I will try my best to suck it up and tell her that it is an ant for the 56th time. At least I know she will never forget it.