Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Questions never cease

The idea came from Elizabeth Spann Craig, who mentioned she is taking a blogging break for the rest of the year. I think it is a fabulous idea, because when I go back to the time when I was blogging without even knowing if I had an audience, I find a lot of posts that make me sit up.

So, for the next few days, I am going to repost some of my older posts- the really nice ones that got no comments at all. And who knows, I may just make it a regular feature.

Here is the first post I ever posted. On July 8, 2008, if you want to know

With the four-year old, questions never cease.

On the way to school – “Why do people make so many buildings?”

Watching TV – “Are zebras and tigers the same? Both have stripes.”

In the playground – “Why do swings go up and slides come down?”

In the kitchen fixing a sandwich –“Why do pigeons not have bathrooms?”

While being bathed – “Lions use which shampoo?”

At midnight when you are trying to get him to sleep – “Why do dolphins not have ears?”

You can answer some of them, but some leave you totally speechless - “Why do birds poo, but not pee?” – how on earth did he even notice that?


Sometimes, the questions start off being factual – “Is Hanuman a God or a Superhero?”…

… then get slightly combative – “But Hanuman can fly – why do you say he is not a Superhero?” …

… before settling for the purely philosophical – “But why does Hanuman not want to be a Superhero?


They say two years is too young an age to start asking meaningful questions. Not!

Your two-year old isn’t too far behind his brother – “Why is the moon so thin?”

Before you can say anything, the older brother pipes up – “Because the moon goes to the gym.”

Not good enough for the two-year old – “but why is the moon sometimes thin and sometimes fat?”

The brother explains with all the patience of a four-year old – “The moon sometimes eats KitKat and becomes fat, and then it goes to the gym and becomes thin again.”

You realize that you really should be more careful what you say in front of these kids!


You can never shut them up with generalities –

“Why are elephants so big?

“Because God made them that way.”

“But why did God make elephants so big?”

He would prefer you tell him, “Elephants are big because all animals cannot be the same size. Some animals should be small and some big. Elephants are big.”, but he is willing to settle for a “I really don’t know. Can I look it up and tell you?”


You know you should not be encouraging him to ask so many questions. You know you are just setting him up for future disappointment. How many teachers will have the patience not to snap at him when he comes up with a “Why do cheetahs run so fast?”, and follows it up with a “But then, why do the deer run so fast?” because the answer to the first questions begets another? Or would a teacher really be able to answer him when he asks, "Why to birds have feathers and not hair?"


You know you can’t win either way – encourage him now and he will be in for a disappointment later, curb him now and he may forget what it is to be inquisitive.

He comes up to you with a variegated leaf - “Why is this leaf not green?”

You remember last week’s question - “Why are leaves green?”, and an answer that included something about leaves being the kitchen of the plant, and the green colour the gas-stove on which food was cooked. You sigh and try to decide whether to tell him about chlorophyll and chromophyll, or whether to just ask him to shut up. You know you have decide fast, but before you can say something to buy time, he triumphantly pipes up, “this leaf is not green because the plant orders takeaway and heats it on the microwave.”

You look into his gleaming eyes, and hug him. Perhaps he will survive even in this big bad world that discourages independent thought.


The then four year old is now six, but he hasn't really changed all that much. The only significant difference is that the younger one (who is now 'nearly four') has joined him, so I have two sets of questions coming at me from different directions.


Galen Kindley--Author said...

Ha. Very interesting questions and post: funny and poignant all wrapped into one. A great first or fiftieth post. One day, you might ask your son to try to answer one or two of these now that he’s older and post his responses.

Best Regards, Galen.

Imagineering Fiction Blog

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Thank you, Galen. And yes, it would be fun to see if he can answer any of those questions now. Though I am not sure if I want proof of the ending of innocence.


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