Today, I was trapped in one of my four-year-olds question circles. If you don’t have or had young kids, you might not understand what I mean by a question circle (which is a term I just made-up). It starts with an innocent question from your child, which results in another question, and then another and just when you think they understand, the first question comes out of their mouth again. Augh.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that Levi is inquisitive and want to promote his ability to question things and explore, but the question circle can be never-ending. Also, usually the circle begins with a presumption/observation that he has, but is not inherent to the questions or that he voiced out loud. Often, I can stop the cycle if I understand what led him to begin questioning. The circle today may have been my doing. I didn’t really understand the question initially or his underlying presumptions, plus I was in the middle of my run.
There is trail in a canyon near our house that I love running on because it has a creek near the end that the boys love throwing rocks into. I still have to push Levi in the stroller because his biking skills are subpar. So he observes the surrounding around us and tends to ask a lot of questions. I then answer in short bursts of one or two words because I don’t have the ability to run and talk at the same time.
This is the shortened version of the conversation (some of the questions were asked multiple times in a row):
Upon observing a dead animal carcass on the path, which I was hoping Levi would neglect to see. Of course he saw it.
- L: What animal was that?
- M: (Pause) ummm Rabbit
- L: Hmmm, why is it dead?
- M: A coyote….(breath)… probably got it.
- L: A coyote eats at night, day… (asked in a question format).
- M: (not sure how to answer because he asked two questions at once, so just mumbles), no
- L: A coyote lives at day?
- M: No, sometimes
- L: A coyote lives at night?
- M: yes
- L: Coyotes eat rabbits?
- M: Yes
- L: Coyotes eat rabbits at night?
- M: Yes
- L: Coyotes live at night?
- M: Yes… (thinking: I already answered that and am getting tired of talking about coyotes).
- L: Why?
- M: Tell you later, when I can breath and talk at the same time.
- L: What?
- L: I’ve never seen a coyote out here.
Realization: He was wondering if he would see a coyote. I don’t think he was scared by the idea, but he knew that they were not safe.
I can’t remember some of the wording of his questions off the top of my head right now, but some were asked in such a way that I didn’t know whether to answer yes or no because both answers were correct. He would use a questioning inflection, but his “question” was more a statement. So, in order to stop anymore follow-up questions, I found using the term “correct” seems to work.
Just the other day, he asked me an easy question, something like, “what color is that car?” I responded, “it is green”. He responded, “Correct”. I laughed to myself.