A Little Bit Western


Who? What? Where?

Jun 17, 2014

There is a rumour circulating around the internet right now about the number of questions a four-yearold asks daily. Like most people, I didn’t check the facts but I really liked how the story sounded, so I too shared this rumour, and now I’m taking it one step further and putting it in print. 437. Questions. Daily. That is the apparent number of questions that the average four-year-old asks. I happen to have two four-year-olds in the house, so I’ll let you do the math. I haven’t attempted to tally the number of questions I field in a day, but I suspect that number isn’t entirely out to lunch.

Interested in the plans for the day, I hear: “what are we having for supper? Who is branding today? Where’s dad? Who is branding tomorrow? Can we go there? Who’s gonna be there? Can we go help dad?”

Looking at their surroundings prompts the kids’ enquiring minds and the questions keep coming: “Why do you cut grass? Why can’t the cows eat it? What if we mowed the pasture? Whose truck is that? Do you like this kind of flower? What kind of bird is that? Why does that mama cantaloupe have a baby cantaloupe?” (That last question was actually not referring to melons, but rather antelope, as I later determined.)

If you really want to be subjected to the question-firing squad, throw everyone in a vehicle for a short or long road trip. “Whose corrals are those? Whose bull is that? Whose tractor is that? Whose pasture is this? Why are those cows that colour and not this colour? Is this a community pasture? Do you see the auger over there? What crop is that? How many people are there in the whole world?”

The answers to these types of questions are readily available as we travel around home. Venturing a bit farther away, however, and the questions stay the same, but I don’t always have the answers as to who owns which corrals, and why or where their cows are at the moment. “Why don’t you know, mommy?” is a common refrain from the back seat when we’re four hours from home.

Once in a while, I absent-mindedly answer a question with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ sparking great excitement and “really? Wow!” I quickly review the subject matter and carefully recant my statement with a precision limited to pre-school parents and litigation lawyers.

Every parent fields their share of questions, and it’s only fair as I’m sure I asked a few in my younger days as well. After all, the best way to learn is to ask questions. When I see how quickly my four year old twins are growing, I’m glad that they still seek answers from me, and are genuinely interested in my responses. Someday I won’t be so lucky, and they might not ask questions at all, and I’ll wish that they would.

For now, I’ll keep answering as best I can, and try to enjoy each of the (437 x 2) daily interrogations. As our four-year-olds grow up, their questioning will plateau, level out and eventually even decrease. It will be a brief respite though. Our older children have taken it upon themselves to thoroughly train our youngest child in the ways of the world and based on early indications, it looks like our small fry will be following quickly in her older brothers’ inquisitive footsteps. Which means I’ll continue to field several hundred questions per day for a few more years to come.

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