Thursday, July 10, 2008

She's Got Questions, Do I Have Answers?

When you live with a two year old you get a lot, and I mean a lot of questions. Most of them are fairly simple. What's that? Where's parrot? Where's minmi? What are you eating?

Then there are the tougher, more philosophical questions, the why questions. And the questions about nature and her surroundings can also be tricky. What do ants eat? What kind of clouds are those? These questions may require a basic understanding of grade school science.

Now I am a relatively intelligent person, a former lawyer. And I know realize that none of my schooling beyond grade school has prepared me to be a question answerer (is answerer even a word?) to a toddler. So like any good (former) lawyer, I make an educated guess, research it further and give a more fully formed answer later.

Take for example the cloud question. When faced with determining the type of clouds in the sky, I was pretty sure that the fluffy white ones were cumulus so that was my answer. A quick check of Wikipedia confirmed it. I also looked at the other types of clouds for a refresher, just in case.

Her questions about ants have posed tougher. She will spend hours examining ants, and ant hills. And then the questions start:

What to they eat? Grass (I think).
Where do they live? In the ground.
What are they doing? Looking for food.
Why are some little and some big? Um, they are different kinds of ants.
What kind of ants? I don't know. Let me check on that and get back to you. Would you like me to brief it or would a simple answer suffice?

So I found myself at the bookstore looking at books on ants. Hey guess what they do eat grass. Well some of them do. Do you know their are ants that grow their own food? Farmer ants do, in case you cared. I armed myself with some basic knowledge and answered her questions.

I know that this is just the beginning. I'm going to have to learn enough about what she is interested in so I can answer her questions. For example I just looked up whether a Parasaurolophus is a meat eating dinosaur or a plant eater. And the answer is plant eater.

What do you do when faced with these types of questions? What kinds of questions have you answered?


Anonymous said...

Let's see ... a few weeks ago while peddaling up a really steep hill with the Midge on her tagalong behind me, I was asked where babies come from (almost hit a car trying to answer that one.)

Then a couple weeks ago, I was asked why we adopted the Midge. No matter how many parenting classes you attend before you bring your child home, you're never prepared for this question so I fumbled my way through as best I could. Then I promptly called my husband and told him the next "tough" question was all his....

Polina said...

I'd better keep answering "why" questions of a 2-year old, than questions on birth, death, love and other philosophical questions of 4-year old:)

anymommy said...

I have about six months before I can no longer stay one step ahead of my children, even with the help of books. I think I'm going to teach them to use google and the encyclopedias and say 'let's look that up.' Research skills are good life skills, right?

Stacy said...

I'm a big fan of asking my son "what do you think?" after he asks a why question (but maybe when he was a bit older than 2). If he REALLY wants to know, he'll say so and then I will tell him what I think/know.

I love seeing their little minds at work!

I also look things up later or get a kid book from the library.

Oh! And one of the best things I heard from another parent when my son was little was to not sweat the "big" questions -- often a simple (and short) answer will suffice. If they want more info, they will ask!

Mrs. Querido said...

My oldest asks A LOT of questions, ALL throughout the day. But they are questions I don't have the answers to. Questions like: (he sees random stranger walking down the street) What's their name Mama? Me: Um, I don't know. Him: Where are they going? Me: I don't nauseam. LOL...I try to answer all questions as best as I can, but sometimes I just get annoyed at having to answer them all THREE TIMES. He repeats the question even AFTER I answered it. Sigh. Inquisitive kids are great! :)