The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

Why? Because……..

on July 21, 2015

It was with half a smile that I greeted #3’s first exploration of the word ‘Why?’ 


The power of that small, innocuous three letter word that can open minds to new ideas, instigate interesting debate and bring forth stimulating dialogue and perspectives from people you never knew about. 

In fact it’s a good thing that we can ask open ended questions isn’t it? We’re actively encouraged to develop this skill to further our careers in Gainful Employment. Attend any course in ‘How to Negotiate Effectively’ and invariably the Trainer will start with ‘Ask open ended questions’. You know, the who, what, when, where, why and how of things. 

And it is a good thing to be able to do this. Surprisingly it’s not something everyone is good at. Think of all the times when you have tried very hard to make a conversation out of nothing because the other person doesn’t know how to who, what when, where, why and how back at you. Yes. I would consider myself as having a high pain threshold under such circumstances but there are occasions when I have left Husband to deal with it as he has an even higher pain threshold. Two hours one time without a break.

And I suppose you have to start somewhere with the who, what, when, where, why and how of things. Like around the age of two it seems. With the ‘Why?’ 

It’s not that I don’ t like ‘Why?’. ‘Why’ is good when it’s followed by some other words like ‘Why does the dark get dark?’ ‘Why does Father Christmas only come when I’m asleep?’ ‘Why can’t I have another ice cream?’ ‘Why does Nana Moon live in space?’ 

But it takes some years of practice to develop this level of ‘Why?’ questioning and by that stage you’re experienced enough to deflect some of the ‘Whys?’ like ‘Why is that man wearing such small shorts?’ Or you are  able to provide genuinely articulate ‘Because’ answers to follow.

It’s when ‘Why?’ puts a brake on routine that previously ran like clockwork, when it adds about 15 minutes to any activity you need small people to participate in and muddles your mind trying to figure out the ‘Because’ to the ‘Why’ that has just been thrown at you. That’s when ‘Why?’ is not as much fun. When it’s just a downright hindrance and not a prerequisite to interesting and stimulating conversation. 

What do I mean by that? Just last week I could ask #3 to put on her shoes and she would go and put on her shoes.

This morning I ask #3 to put on her shoes and this happens

#3:  Why? 

Me:  Because we’re going out. 

#3:  Why? 

Me:  Because we have to get to school. 

#3:  Why?

Me: So you can see your friends.

#3: Why?

Me: Because you have fun with them.

#3:  Ohhhh! 

Like realisation has just dawned on her as to the connection between putting on her shoes to having fun. 
And yet still there are no shoes on her feet. She doesn’t even have to do anything like tie shoe laces or do up buckles. Not even a velcro strap. Just put her feet into small people’s Crocs (which are acceptable in mini sizes only). 

So I try again.

Me:  #3 can you put your shoes on please.

#3:  Why?

There is one person I know who will read this and say that it’s about time I suffered the pain of this ‘Why?’ It’s been over 35 years since it happened but Our Jenn never lets me forget one incident when she was walking me to school. It goes like this:

Our Jenn: Come on let’s walk faster.

Me: Why?

Our Jenn: Because it’s going to rain.

Me: Why?

Our Jenn: Because you’ll get wet.

Me: Why?

And then I doubt very much it was allowed to carry much longer than that. In fact Our Jenn may well consider my ‘Why? years the most challenging.  

The introduction of ‘Why?’ to any two year old’s vocabulary is of course the natural order of things. To question the world around them and to question exactly what’s what and well, to question why we do things I guess. 

I’ve really enjoyed experiencing #1, 2 and 3 develop their language skills. From waiting for that first word, to non-sensical babble, to the sweet way they get words mixed up and mispronounces them. I would say that right now #1 and 2 have mastered language so well that they feel confident enough to correct my grammar and my accent. Indeed.

For a long while I thought #2 would never be able to pronouce words that started with an ‘s’ followed by a consonant. I remember clearly how she would say ‘Top it’, ‘Ponge’, ‘Potty dress’. Then all of a sudden she stopped and articulated herself very clearly.

At the moment #3 is a fan of piders, dingrays and trawberries. And ‘Why?’ 
And what’s so unusual about her use of ‘Why?’ in amongst all the other chitterchatter that she does non stop all day is that she’s not just babbling in a monologue anymore but she’s learning to open up a conversation. 

‘Why?’ makes me stop and answer her rather than just offer a placatory ‘Mmmm’. It makes me have to listen more and sometimes when I’m getting them ready or getting myself ready because we need to be someplace else, I am often not fully listening because I’m thinking of all the other things that need doing. Hence the ‘Mmmm’. But now I really have to listen more because soon enough they’ll move onto the ‘You’re not listening’. ‘Mmmm’. Which is a different blog post altogether.

And what else does ‘Why?’ signify? 

Ah yes. It signifies the end of a dictatorship  and opens up the start of endless negotiations. 

As well the start of endless interesting and stimulating conversation possibilities.

Whyever not.



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