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Monday, December 19, 2005

Wot Dat Ting?

For years I've heard friends and colleagues describe their childrens' "why?" stage. Y'know, the one that makes you eternally grateful for Jimmy Wales and Wikipedia (no matter what kind of PR hits they've taken lately). What I've never heard mentioned, but what makes perfect sense, is that the "why?" stage is preceded by the "what?" stage. This is where our kids rely on us to supply their roadmap of the world. Or, to put it another way, this is where we really have the opportunity to mess with them. What if you just told them the wrong name for, I don't know, everything? What dinner conversation wouldn't be enlivened by requests like, "Mommy, please pass the snorkle and plunger?" Could make for some entertaining parent-teacher conferences down the road too.

Other things I didn't previously realize that have become self-evident:

  • Tweety Bird's creator must have had a toddler.
  • I'm not sure what exactly college breadth requirements are intended to prepare you for, but parenting isn't it. Not that I yearn for the Waldorf salad days of Home Ec, but the ability to load and empty washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers at triple the rate of what should by any measure be considered civilized, and the ability to engineer elaborate train layouts, lend themselves only with protest and difficulty to self-instruction. (Bonus link, Flickr's toy trains pool, ho boy.)

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