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Curiouser and Curiouser (or the Questions of Sophie in Wonderland)

November 29, 2011

I’m feeling the need to go back to school. I say this not because I have a desire to learn new things. No, I need to learn all the things I forgot or ignored the first time around in order to keep up with the questions that Sophie asks me every day.

You think I’m being funny? I’m completely serious. Every day she asks me questions and often times, I have no idea what the answers are. I have tried the clever retort of “What do you think, Sophie?” But usually what I get in return is, “I don’t know, mommy. What do you think? That’s why I’m asking you.” The kid has a point.

So in order to either answer her appropriately – or at least act like I have some sort of brains – I need to re-educate myself on the basics of astronomy, religion, anatomy and the like.

Here are just a few of the questions Sophie has asked me lately.

What if the sun did not come out?

What is a planet?

Are there people on other planets?

What happens if the moon doesn’t come out?

What if we had no heads?

Do we live inside or outside of the world?

Why is poop brown?

What would happen if we didn’t have noses?

Why do beetles live on earth? (I was starting to go on about how they were from Liverpool and every once and a while we are given a musical gift … Then I realized she was talking about the bug, not the band.)

Why does it rain?

How did Max (the golden retriever that died) get up to heaven with God?

Why can’t I see God from the airplane?

Who draws all the pictures in our books?

Why can’t I pee standing up like boys?

What do clouds taste like? Do they taste like whipped cream?

What are angels? Why do they help people?

Why do ants come into our house? I think it’s very rude of them to come into the house.

Why aren’t we sitting in an emergency exit row (on the airplane)?

So friends, what would you tell Sophie? If you have the answers to any of these questions, leave them in the comments so I can start educating my daughter properly … or make something up and I’ll see what she says.

Oh, the places she’ll go (and the questions she’ll ask!)

59 Comments leave one →
  1. November 29, 2011 3:52 am

    What I think is that you are raising an inquisitive soul who is being taught to explore for answers and that it’s most definitely OK to ask the questions! Wonderful!!

    • December 1, 2011 1:28 pm

      Completely agree, MJ. I love seeing how her little mind works. We take for granted all the stuff we just know.

  2. November 29, 2011 4:04 am

    This is such a fun stage! You can find answers to lots of her questions in your local library’s children’s room! Have fun learning with her.

  3. November 29, 2011 4:48 am

    I absolutely LOVED the question phase…. I remember reading when my son was in that phase that a good answer is: “I don’t know the answer, but that’s an excellent question, so let’s find out!” Nonetheless, I do know the answer to why it rains: the hydrologic cycle! Thank you 3 years of bio before switching to journalism! 🙂

    • December 1, 2011 1:27 pm

      Thanks, Julia. I do have to tell her that I don’t know and we’ll often look it up. It’s a great stage!

  4. November 29, 2011 5:31 am

    I agree with Sophie’s assessment of the rudeness of ants!!
    These are the best times…so glad you are enjoying them with her. 🙂

    • December 1, 2011 1:26 pm

      Thanks, Cynthia. And I completely agree about ants being rude!

  5. November 29, 2011 6:36 am

    How fun! I always thought clouds should taste like whip cream, too! I think you should tell her “yes” to that one — it’s so much better than they are water turned into gas. She has the rest of her life to know the boring truth 🙂

  6. November 29, 2011 6:43 am

    I agree, I loved the inquisitive phase of my kids. My husband was fabulous during this stage, as he loves the opportunity to teach. With every question (well maybe not every question since we were bombarded daily), we’d pick one particularly compelling question and try to make an “explore” game out of it. We would either take them on a walk, to get a first-hand view of what storm drains really do, or make a styrofoam ball universe to teach about planets, or make a spice board (a piece of cardboard where the kids got to glue down different spices after they’d smelled each one and learned about what they were used for), you get the idea. You are an amazing mom, Leah, and so creative, that you could make this into a fun regular activity. Good luck and enjoy – this stage is one of the miracles of childhood!

    • December 1, 2011 1:26 pm

      Thanks, Susan. You know, Bryan is so good with this stage because he’s like your husband. Loves to teach about the answers. I sometimes don’t have the patience and will give in too soon to give her the answer rather than let her explore it.

  7. November 29, 2011 6:45 am

    I tell my kids to “Google” it. Love “What if we had no heads?”! That’s priceless. You’ll be in school for a long time trying to answer all her questions. Good luck! 😉

    • December 1, 2011 1:24 pm

      Yeah, the no heads question was a classic. I better teach her how to google soon.

  8. November 29, 2011 7:15 am

    What a terrific list of questions! Your little girl is so smart and clever. 🙂 And, I’m sorry, but I can’t seem to help you with any of the answers either. My kids are 3 and 4… these must be the last of the days I can manage without needing more education myself! Though they still manage to trip me up. Last night we were doing a puzzle, my daughter and I both had pieces in our hands, and my son innocently whipped them out and threw them in the puzzle before we could blink.

    And this morning, for some reason they were having a conversation about finding seeds and leaves on the ground… which led to this exchange:

    Son: “But you don’t want to pick them up from over there. There’s nothing but rocks.”

    Daughter: “I just want to find another seed so my seed will have a friend.”

    S: “But you might see a bird. And birds poop.”

    D: “We need to stay away from the bird poopie.”

    S: “And sometimes birds poop on your head!”

    D: (laughing) “And on your elbows!”

    This went on for quite a while. 🙂 Kids see the world in ways I’ll never understand — but it sure is fun to be a spectator to their minds!

    • December 1, 2011 1:23 pm

      I love this conversation! Thanks so much for sharing it.

  9. November 29, 2011 9:01 am

    I love how kids’ brains work. They make the most creative leaps. I have no answers for you, but my favorite of Sophie’s questions… “Do we live inside of or outside of the world?” I’d like to know the answer to that one. Let me know if she figures it out.

    • December 1, 2011 1:23 pm

      Thanks, Shary. That seems to be quite a popular question!

  10. November 29, 2011 9:14 am

    Ha. My middle child asked a bajillion questions. I’m sure this is the part of the comment where I’m supposed to say what a wonderful blessing it was, but oh. my. goodness. He drove us bananas. Our salvation came when he was old enough that we could tell him to look it up on the internet. 🙂 After that, we ALL learned a great deal about a variety of random topics.

    • December 1, 2011 1:22 pm

      I feel the same way, Varina. Sometimes it does drive you crazy, although I am grateful she’s inquisitive. And yes, I’m learning a lot too!

  11. November 29, 2011 9:29 am

    I loved this phase too. As a person who is always with a thought and a witty retort, I confess to being rendered speechless many a time when my kids were at that age.. It’s amazing to me how clever they are, how their little minds process, how open their hearts are to anything. Then there is the dark period–the teen years–but man-o-man, do they come back with beauty. These are all wonderful questions. I’m not sure school is a must, but always answering and inviting her along to discover the answers to her questions is always good. They like the hunt for knowledge as much as asking. Cracks me up though, how once they know the answer to the question they move on so quickly to the next thing. Wonderful, thanks for sharing.

    • December 1, 2011 1:21 pm

      Thanks, Brenda. I confess that I sometimes do tell her to ask her teacher. And usually one answer leads to another question. It’s all fun though.

  12. November 29, 2011 10:42 am

    Why do clouds sometimes go this way and sometimes go that way?
    Why do trees grow so tall?

    Yes, I remember not only my own two children, but these two from the son of a neighbour before I was married and had children, I couldn’t answer his questions but he did inspire me to write a story about him.

    • December 1, 2011 1:21 pm

      Great questions. And that’s so cool that inspired you to write about it!

  13. November 29, 2011 11:04 am

    Wow – deep thoughts! That’s really amazing, I love those kinds of questions. And a lot of them have nothing to do with school, they are questions of imagination. 🙂

    • December 1, 2011 1:20 pm

      Oh yea, I don’t know where she comes up with half this stuff. I love it though.

  14. November 29, 2011 12:33 pm

    I love her spirit! My son asked me what cheeks were for. And I was driving and making a turn and concentrating on traffic and didn’t answer right away. He repeated the question several times almost to practically yelling. We still laugh about it, now that he is a tween, it is a treasured family story. “WHAT ARE CHEEKS FOR!” Indeed, what?

    • December 1, 2011 1:20 pm

      That is so cute! It’s a good question too!

  15. November 29, 2011 1:35 pm

    Thank goodness Sophie is so inquisitive. Learning and searching for answers instead of just accepting the obvious will help her succeed in life and continue to be a wonderful person like she is now.
    On your part I can only say, “Thank God for the internet” in spare moments you can dash off and find the scientific answers to some of these questions to respond with. lol 🙂

    • December 1, 2011 1:19 pm

      If I’m really at a loss, I’ll tell her we have to look it up on the computer. That will at least put it off for a while. But she has a good memory too. And yes, I am grateful she’s so inquisitive.

  16. November 29, 2011 2:57 pm

    These are totally precious.

    The first one “what would happen if the sun didn’t come out?” made me crack up because you can’t tell a little kid “Well the human race would die”

    “Do we live inside or outside of the world?” That is a question for god if she ever sees him outside an airplane.

    • December 1, 2011 1:19 pm

      Sara, I seriously wanted to say that to her! But alas, had to sensor myself. Sometimes I can’t help myself.

  17. November 29, 2011 4:45 pm

    I love talking with kids and hearing what they have to say. Last week one of the first graders I work with and I were talking about Thanksgtiving and I asked him what he was thankful for and he said, “Well, first of all, God is thankful for me because I pray to him.”

    • December 1, 2011 1:18 pm

      OMG, Thelma, that is so cute! Thanks for sharing.

  18. aig63 permalink
    November 29, 2011 5:42 pm

    I often wondered how teachers maintain their enthusiasm during the barrage of a thousand questions and interruptions day in day out! My poor daughter! She was our third and I’m afraid I must have told her a hundred times to ‘go ask her brothers’! She is, however, a much more avid reader than her brothers, so perhaps my impatience spurned her to seek out her own answers!
    Gotta love kids 🙂

    • December 1, 2011 1:18 pm

      Thanks for your nice words. I sometimes tell her to ask her teacher or ask daddy. I don’t know how the teachers do it!

  19. November 29, 2011 6:34 pm

    Mom, why did got created Mosquitos ? Why couldn’t live without them, they do nothing but bite us. I loved the question stage, now they barely talk to me enjoy every moment . It
    looks like Sophie had fun on the plane ride.

  20. November 29, 2011 8:55 pm

    Well technically she could pee standing up. Except she’d have to take her panties all the way off everytime, and that would get old really fast.
    She’s darling!

    • December 1, 2011 1:17 pm

      Thanks, Sandra. Yeah, don’t think I’m ready to tell her about peeing standing up yet.

  21. November 29, 2011 9:34 pm

    Kids do ask the most wonderful questions and I tend to think the more questions they ask the more intelligent they are! Sophie looks very grown up in her ‘plane seat’ and would have lots more questions after this ride I suspect. Treasure each moment.

    • December 1, 2011 1:16 pm

      Thanks, Elizabeth. She cracks me up every day. I love her love of learning.

  22. November 29, 2011 11:27 pm

    I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that she’s on a plane, given that you don’t like flying. When did this happen? She asks great questions, btw!

    • December 1, 2011 1:16 pm

      We went to San Jose for my cousin’s wedding. It was a quick trip. She did better than me.

  23. Lena permalink
    November 30, 2011 8:14 am

    William is just starting to get to this phase. He wants to know who makes everything: “Who made that Mommy?” (Points to building, sign, road, brownie, person, etc.) Sometimes funny, but more often annoying when he keeps asking! One questions leads to ten more usually. 😉

    • December 1, 2011 1:15 pm

      I love it, Lena. It does get tough because an answer always leads to another question. Guess that’s how they learn.

  24. November 30, 2011 10:00 am

    Oh! That’s so funny. I feel the same way—I’m sure all parents do. When the questions get existential it’s even worse. . . the “why do good things happen to bad people” type of stuff. My seven year old often asks, “Who made God?” Yikes.

    • December 1, 2011 1:15 pm

      Thanks, Nina. I’m surprised I haven’t gotten the “Who made God” question yet.

  25. November 30, 2011 11:35 am

    She’s a brilliant creative writer already! Seeing God from the airplane–how touching. Leah, you’re smart to catalogue these for her to look back upon!

    • December 1, 2011 1:14 pm

      Thanks. There are so many great ones I love keeping track.

  26. November 30, 2011 7:41 pm

    Her questions are amazing! I love them! She keeps you on your toes, that’s for sure.
    Ants come inside to find food and water. I think.
    Angels are messengers and helpers for God. God delegates to them 🙂
    Artists draw pictures for all the books.
    Um, I think those are the only ones I can answer 🙂

    Hey, thanks for visiting The Big Green Bowl. I hope you get to make the sugar cookies for your husband! Ours are all gone and I admit I ate a good portion of them myself. Yikes!

    • December 1, 2011 1:14 pm

      Oh I like that description of angels! Thank you. Great answers, by the way.

  27. December 1, 2011 7:46 am

    I would say… perhaps we should go to the library and find out! I think that would be my answer for everything 🙂

    • December 1, 2011 1:07 pm

      I like that one. Or maybe I’ll say, “Why don’t you ask your teacher?”

  28. December 1, 2011 1:29 pm

    By the way, Sophie’s latest question was: How come mommies and daddies eat mustard and stinky cheese?

  29. December 1, 2011 5:21 pm

    What great questions from Sophie! She’s got me stumped, though. I wonder how old we were when we stopped asking such wonderful questions because we thought we knew it all? What a shame.

  30. December 17, 2011 7:09 pm

    When you find out the answer to the question about peeing standing up, I want to know, too! LOL


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