The Nugget Chronicles: Ask a Question, Give an Answer

There’s a relatively new activity that has been taking up large portions of Nugget’s brainspace as of late. See, somewhere in the last week or so, she started asking questions. I’ve got friends with children older than Nugget, and I was once a child of her age, so I knew that this stage was coming. Honestly, I was actually kind of looking forward to the onslaught of “Why?”, if for no reason other than the ability to work on my improv skills (yes, we’re going to try to tell her the truth about things when she asks, but sometimes it’s just going to be too hard to not want to make a joke and see how long I can run with it). I figured that was the point we were staring to enter when I presented her with a spoonful of peanut butter, a typical after-breakfast treat, and she asked why it wasn’t a sting ray.

That question wasn’t completely random, by the way. She apparently thought that the peanut butter looked somewhat like a sting ray, so I told her that it was peanut butter, and not actually parts of a sting ray.

She immediately asked, “But why?”, and I knew that the time had come. I started brushing up on information, or at least believable, funny lies. After all, I want to be prepared for what Nugget might throw at me, and I have a reputation in this house as knowing things that my daughter doesn’t. I wouldn’t want to ruin that.

So, imagine my surprise when Nugget started going around and asking questions that began with “why”, but then moved on to being things only she could answer. For example, she’ll ask why she’s laughing so much. Or she’ll ask why she’s petting the dog. Or she’ll ask us if she’s sleepy.

Apparently, Nugget has decided that answering our questions of her isn’t as interesting as it could be, so she’s asking the questions now. Of her. She almost never asks us about us.

She also won’t answer until we repeat the question back to her. When she feels like answering at all. The laughing question is a prime candidate for not getting an answer. This question gets posed by Nugget when she’s generally being fairly quiet, idly playing with her toys or reading a book. She’ll then get a sly smile on her face, look directly at me or Mama, and ask us why she’s laughing. We’ll repeat the question back to her, she’ll smile wider, and only THEN will she start rolling with laughter.

Clearly, she’s discovered the basic elements of comedy, and is still trying to figure out a punchline that makes as much sense to her audience as it does to the teller.

So yes. I now have either a tiny comedian walking around my house, a little actor preparing for their first big audition, a small scientist that is working their hypotheses out loud for all the world to hear, or something of the sort. Sure, you could go ahead and say that I’ve got a toddler who’s figured out enough of how language works to know that questions need answers, while still not having a grasp on how to make the questioning accessible to those of us around her, but that’s just crazy.

Although probably not as crazy as a parent actively looking forward to their child following them around all day asking “Why?”.

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