Here is the direct transcription of a conversation I had with my daughter this morning:
Me: Okay, here’s your breakfast!
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
Me: Umm… because it’s morning, and we eat breakfast in the morning.
Me: Hmm. Well, that’s just what we do.
Daughter: Why we call it breakfast?
Me: Well, we’re “breaking our fast” from not eating since yesterday.
Me: Because we’re hungry, now eat.
Daughter: Why you said “AAAARRRGGGG”?
It doesn’t stop there, but I’ll spare you the rest.
Why? Because I’m sure you’ve either had a similar conversation or will have one soon. Why? Because it appears that the incessant questions are a natural part of growing up. Why? Because a quick internet search reveals all sorts of theories on why children ask “why”.
Oh man, now I’m doing it too. I think I need a break.
It’s official, my daughter is now in the infamous “why?” stage of development. I remember, back before my daughter could really even speak, hearing friends complain about this phase and thinking to myself, “Don’t be ridiculous, it can’t be that bad. At least you get to hear your offspring’s sweet voice”. Well, my friends, it really is that bad, especially when you’re spending twelve hours a day answering “Why”.
Theories about this behavior abound, but it appears that there are a couple of main components:
1) Children are naturally curious
2) They don’t so much mean “why” as much as they mean “keep talking and tell me more”
3) This is a precursor to a more conversational interaction- up to now our conversations have been particularly one-sided, with me making statements or asking her questions. “Why” is a sort of placeholder for richer dialogue.
4) I don’t look old enough to have a three year old, so she’s trying to age me quickly.
I think all of these reasons are really kind of sweet (except for #4). It’s hard to frown upon a child’s natural curiosity about this huge world, and I look forward to deeper and more meaningful dialogues with my daughter more than I look forward to anything else in the world.
Why? Because she is very dear to me, and I can’t wait to learn more about her insights
Why? Because I believe everyone can benefit from a child’s perspective
Why? Because sometimes the most complicated issues in life can benefit from having the simplest questions asked about it.