Why?



"Why mama?"
Two huge brown eyes looked up at me, searching for answers.
I stopped stirring and put down the spoon.
"Because it is hot and I don't want you to get hurt."
Acceptance.  There was no drama; no bargaining or rewards.  Only contentment; pure and simple.

For me, "why" is one of the most treasured words that little bean utters.  I adore it because it represents her questioning, perceptive nature.  But more than this, it makes me stop stirring and put down the spoon.  It makes me look, strike that, it makes me FALL head first into those deep, pool-like eyes and truly connect in the moment.  In our moment.

Yet it seems like everywhere I look, I see a different image portrayed of the questioning toddler.  I'm sure you've seen it too: it's the picture of the cute kid asking "why?" whilst a pair of frazzled parental eyes start rolling and the phrase "because I said so" rings out.

To me, it's a sad picture, but also one that I just don't understand.  I don't understand how "why?" can be so annoying, so grating, so trying.  I don't understand how "why?" could be met with shrugs or indifference.  It is, perhaps, one of the most symbolic words of childhood; one of the most representative of innocence.

What if we, as parents, choose to view our child's questioning outlook as the gift that it is?  What if we accept it as an invitation to see the world through new eyes?  Because, wow, what a view we get!

We get to watch as our baby, the one we cradled and dressed in tiny booties, pieces together her own picture of the world.  It may seem obvious to us, but each "why?" that we answer becomes another crucial piece of her puzzle.  We also get to update, to recreate and polish our own picture of the world.  Because no matter how much I teach little bean, no matter how much I show her and share with her about life, she will always, without question, teach and show me more.

There are times when I am busily racing through our daily tasks or appointments and I hear a little voice asking, "why mama?"  Sometimes, these moments stop me in my tracks.  There are times when I am about to give my answer but cannot utter the words, as I realise that they are nothing more than a prettified version of "because I said so".  It is in these moments that I hear myself answering with the only response that will do; the one that is truthful and humbled by the lessen that my toddler has inadvertantly just delivered to me: "why not?"

Because when it comes to our children, their wants, their needs, their questions..."why not" just put down the spoon and stop stirring?


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