Friday, January 31, 2014

Who What When Where Why?

Who, what, when, where, why? These are all questions we were taught to ask in elementary school English class. I distinctively remember sitting in class-either in fourth or fifth grade- and having to write sentences that both asked and answered these questions. At the time it seemed like a fun exercise but now as a parent of a four year old all of these questions are coming rushing back to me. Why you ask? (No pun intended). Because my oh-so inquisitive, perpetual question asking son asks these questions of me on a continuous basis. Who is over there? Who is my friend? What does a bus do? What is pasta? When will we be there? When is tomorrow? Where are we going? Where is Belgium? Why does an airplane fly? Why is she a girl? Over and over and over again. If you are a parent or have spent any time around a four year old, you know exactly what I mean.

We've spent a considerable amount of time driving over the past week and these are the questions that Sidney has been peppering us with during every waking moment of car time. At first the questions were fun and often silly (What is good? What is bad? What is funny?) but over time many of them grew to be marginally annoying. After all, there are only so many times that I can answer the same mundane question. The phrase "when will we be there?" grows old after the first fifteen minutes. After an hour we were tempted to just stop the car so we could say yes, we are here already. But other questions really made us think. Why is the sun yellow? (Good question). What is a broken road? (I sarcastically answered that it is an Albanian road). Why are we going to Belgium? (Because of daddy's new job). The questions went on and on and in hindsight, many of them provided me with a window into what my little boy was thinking. Why are we moving? When will we go home? Where is home? Who will be there? Where are my books? Where is Nene (Sidney's beloved nanny)?

My question is how do I answer all of these more serious questions in a non-overwhelming way that a four year old can understand? How do I allay my son's unspoken fears? What are the correct answers? Are there correct answers? How will I even know?

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