The questions are in full swing around our house. Three seems to be the age when they begin to burst with the need to clarify the same piece of information over and over and over. Yes, there are some stereotypical, “Why is the sky blue?” type stuff, but most days it feels like Ellie Jo is just asking, “Why can’t I pee in the bath tub?” or “Why did Uncle Daniel go to Greece?” until she is satisfied that the answer won’t change.
Today she saw Robin loading the dishwasher and asked, “Daddy, can I help you?”
“Yes!” Robin answered “You can hand me those dirty glasses off of the table. That would be a big help.”
EJ looked disappointed, “No thanks. I think I’ll just sit in the chair and watch you.”
I suddenly realized that Ellie Jo still firmly believes that any question could unlock a thoroughly magical moment. Because there was that time when she asked what dog sledding was and discovered that people actually ride in sleds pulled by dogs. Or the time when she asked where we were going and was told that we were heading to the beach/OMSI/Burgerville. Or the time that she asked if she could ride on a pony at the fair and found out we were already in line for her to do that exact thing.
So what if she had asked, “Daddy, can I help you?” and Robin had replied, “Sure! You wanna throw some glitter in the air and blow bubbles into the dishwasher?”
In her mind that really might happen.
Now I kind of want to ask more questions myself and expect beautiful answers. I think the opportunities are out there. I just forget to ask, “Do you want to tell me about it?” or “How will that change who you are now?” While Ellie Jo will soon learn that the routine of the house and the laws of science are fixed and predictable, she will also learn that the lives of people will always be interesting and thought-provoking. I know that. I just need to ask more questions.