Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Capturing memorable conversations

Conversations with a 3 ½ year old can get pretty interesting, especially when everything I say is followed by a “why” from her. I see many people post conversions with their kids on Facebook, but we are very likely to forget about it later and the kids won't get to look back at the early exchanges with their parents.

Many people video record conversations, and parents would have had no recollection of the event were it not captured on video. But these are usually an interview-style format, where the parent asks a set of questions or tells the kids to perform some trick. But writing conversations down in the scrapbook is another option, especially if it is an impromptu exchange that didn't get recorded. After all, you can't predict when memorable moments are going to happen.

You should write it down within a few hours when all the details are still fresh. If you don't have the time right away, just type it into a word processor and make the page later (that's what I did). Then you can add pictures and your own comments later when you have the time. Here's how mine went:

Mommy, why are you rubbing your eyes?
Me: Because I'm tired.
Sophia: Why?
Me: Because it's night time.
Sophia: Why?
Me: Because the sun went down.
Sophia: Why?
Me: Well... it just looks like the sun went down... Actually (grabbing two balls), the earth is spinning in relation to the sun, like this. When we are facing the sun, it's daytime. Then, the earth spins around and it looks like the sun is going down from our perspective, then it disappears and it's night time. The earth is also going around the sun. When it's over there, it's winter time and its cold. When it come back over this way, it's summer and it's warm out. That's when we can go outside and have fun.
Sophia: Can we go to the zoo tomorrow?
Me: (Breathing a sigh of relief) Yes! Let's see the animals tomorrow.

It's amazing how a simple string of “WHY's” can lead into deep conversation, challenging my own intellect and understanding of the world around me. All kids go through this stage. And WHY do they go through the “WHY” stage? I suppose it's curiosity. Perhaps the more important question is WHY do they stop saying “WHY.” Some kids never stop asking WHY, and they go on to get their Ph.D.'s and talk about things that very few people understand. I certainly wouldn't want to inhibit my childrens' innate curiosity, so I try to avoid empty responses such as “just because.” I prefer to give the humbling but honest answer of “I don't know.” Though it may shatter their image of me as the all-knowing authoritative figure in their life, that's ok. They're not my creation and I have no right to hold them back. As for now, I answer to the best of my ability until I lose my little Socrates and she changes the subject.