Tuesday, January 08, 2008

On Kids' Questions

Caroline asked me in the car just now, "Daddy, how does the brain hold all the words you want to say?" (I told her it was a great question, but that no one knew the answer.)

Joey asks "What kind?" where other children ask "why?" When Caroline was Joey's age and a little younger, she would point to everything she saw and asked "why?" "Why leaf?" There were also standard kid why questions, like "why do trees have leaves?" Children say why just to get information from adults, any information, and they don't really care whether you are giving a proper "why" explanation. They just want you to keep the conversation going. "Why" is good for this because it iterates indefinitely, as any parent will recognize.

For Joey, the way to keep information coming is to ask "what kind."

"That's a leaf"
"What kind leaf"
"A maple leaf"
"What kind maple leaf?"
"A red one"


I'm amused that "what kind?" iterates as well as "why?" I also imagine I am raising the next Linnaeus.

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