Friday, December 10, 2010
Curiosity killed the cat.
I’m beginning to think it’s true. But not for the reason the old adage implies.
If you are, or have been, a parent to an almost three-year-old, you know a thing or two about curiosity. You know what it's like to have said kiddo ask you questions all day long about everything he sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches, and everything he does NOT see, hear, smell, taste and touch. You know what it is like to hear the same exact question repeated in the same exact intonation consistently for at least 10 minutes, even though you’ve answered it with precision every. single. time. You know the delicate walk on that very thin line between encouraging curiosity/questioning the world and going absolutely, totally insane.
And if you aren’t a parent to an almost three-year-old, and will be soon, you now know what you have to look forward to. (you can thank me later).
Conversations like this, for instance:
bug: Why that car get gas for?
me: Because it ran out of gas.
me: Because gas doesn’t last forever.
bug: But why it needs more gas?
me: To drive.
me: Because in order for your car to drive, the engine needs to use the gas you put into the gas tank to create energy. Once the gas is gone, the engine doesn’t have any more fuel for energy, and it can’t make the car go anymore. It’s the same reason you need to eat food. The car eats gas.
bug: Why I need to eat food for?
And it is never ending.
As I mentioned, there is that fine line. On one side of the line lays everything you know about curious children. Curious children are smart children. Curious children seek out answers and enlarge their understanding. They do better in school. They understand the world. They communicate more effectively in social settings. They are more successful - however we define that. And you want to encourage questions. You want to encourage learning. You want to be the epitome of a perfect parent.
But let’s be honest. There are only so many times you can hear, “What he do that for?” in a day before you want to duct tape the child’s mouth shut. And when, after the 80 billionth time of you answering “I’m getting ready,” your nearly three-year-old asks “what you doing, Mommy?” YET AGAIN - and you say, “For the love of Pete, I’m still doing exactly what I was doing two seconds ago when you asked me. Nothing has changed. I’m doing the EXACT SAME THING!”... well, maybe you should cut yourself some slack. I mean, even perfect parents who encourage curiosity have a breaking point.
So, maybe I’m not entirely certain if curiosity killed the cat. But my two-year-old has taught me that it sure as heck will be the death of me.