…. for its innocence,
…. for its curiosity,
…. for its eagerness,
…. for its excitement, for its sociality, for its anger, for its fuss, for its awareness, for its everything….
Tuesday evening, my wife wanted to go to her friend’s place a street down from our house and she mentioned about it. Our 3 year daughter V—- is so fond of going to their house as well, she said she would follow. I asked my wife to leave her home and go alone. So after our dinner, I kept V- aside talking to her so that her mom can sneak out that moment. I took her to the living area and started cleaning up the video tapes and other things lying on the floor. A few minutes later I asked her to wear a jacket and shoes to go out and check the postal mails. All along she kept asking me several questions and we were talking quite a bit.
V—- and I stepped out, locked the door, and stepped on the pavement. She held my hand and kept her other hand in her pocket. Started talking again. We went around for quite sometime, and all along, not even a single minute that she kept quiet. I don’t know how and where toddlers learn Why’s and How’s and Where’s and What’s, She has been pouring her questions on me.
“Daddy, where do we get the mail from?”
“who puts these letters in this box?”
“why do we need to check mails?”
“what is in there?”
“why are we walking on pavement; why not on the road?”
“Oh, cars go on road, not on pavement? why not on pavement?”
“why did she stop the car there?”
“why not going over to the other side?”
“why do I need to wear my cap?”
“why is she talking on phone? (some one parked the car on the curb and was talking on the phone)”
“who is she talking to?”
“oh! christmas lights (seeing lights in front of a house), why not that house has the lights? why have they put these lights on? is it christmas? when is christmas? why is it not now? I want christmas now; I want lights on my house too, …..”
“Oh! somebody has left the lights on – why did they leave it?
“oh! you’ve got aavi (hurt)? how did it happen? did you fall? where did you fall? how did you fall? why did doctor put band-aid for you?
“daddy, I love you!!! I puppy your hand; “
…………………….. and many many many questions and statements….
The beauty is, whatever I answered, either she would ask a follow up question or deviate to next question in the conversation, next observation on the way, the next sequence, the next thing but something to talk….
I don’t know if she’d expect right answers from me for all her questions. Obviously, I did not know answers for the questions like why someone still kept the Christmas lights, or why someone parked the car and still on phone, etc etc. It was like, when conversation was going on, the facts did not count. For lot of such questions, I said “I don’t know” but then the follow up question was “Why you don’t know?” —
I know at times it is frustrating. But I had a choice – either
(A) get frustrated with those questions
make her get annoyed
she starts crying – hates me more
I react for that moment – and repent later on
and so on…
OR (B) answer whatever I know
enjoy the conversation and
help her ask more follow up questions,
help her be engaged in the conversation
help build that trust in me to share whatever she thinks about
make that deposit in the emotional bank account
help her be happy that she got that most valuable time that she can count on
and so on…
Since I had a surgery a week ago, last night was the first time that I went out on a little walk, and couldn’t walk much. So, I told her that we had to return back and I wasn’t able to walk further. She agreed, and we returned home.
Once back, I opened up the mails and at the time, we both watched a movie “Jingle All the Way” – talking about turbo man, watching fun clips from that movie.
She then started writing on a wipe-clean book that she started practicing alphabets. We learned about the difference between the letters “b” “d” and “p”; and other alphabets. We talked about the kind of bicycle she wants to buy in local toysRus store (looked up on website).
L—— returned home by then, we then each ate a cup of mango pulp. V—- and I ended a day with a spoon of Honey and a good night kiss.
Off late, V—- started surprising me more and more with great things she has been learning – reading and writing alphabets, rhymes, her conversation, the amount of words she has added into her vocabulary (both Kannada and English). It is fun to watch the amount of questions she asks – mainly the follow up questions. I would like her to continue building the questioning skills that I lack even today. hmmm…. in fact, I have started learning some of those questioning skills and tactics from V—-. I know it sounds funny, but true, we learn from every individual, every animal, every bird every day. I think that’s the beauty of having an attitude towards learning and improving self on a day-to-day basis.
I want to be a child, it is lot of fun :)