What Dat Mum?

“What Dat Mum?”

At lunch:
“What’s that Leila?” I repeat. “It’s a mushroom.”

Outside our apartment, near the elevators:
“That? It’s a tiny, scrunched up piece of paper that we can throw in the dustbin Rahul.”

After a bath:
“That’s a hairbrush. But those? I don’t know Leila, umm…they’re a part of the hair brush that look like the spokes of a bicycle wheel. I’ll have to check.”

(I have no idea where that came from?! “Like the spokes of a bicycle wheel,”) I doubt she can make use of that simile anyway, not that it works at all!)

So I googled “Hair brush parts”. What she asked about are the “bristles”. OK, even I knew that. At some point!


A couple of hours after we returned from Lebanon, Leila walked up to me as I was unpacking. She stood right in front of me, full of confidence.
“Where Maher?” she asked.

My eyebrows scrunched up, “He’s at work,” I replied.

She nodded, and returned to her toys.

They ask questions all the time, but it’s different now that they are using words.

I’m bracing myself for the “why’s” and the “how comes?”

Friends who know all about child development stages, mum’s who’ve been there, please tell me I still have time to study the parts and functioning of the world around us; before my children find me out for the sham I am. They’re 2 and 2 months. Is it days or months before I’m bombarded with even more questions?!

When did you children start asking questions? Any difficult ones?

Related articles:

When Preschoolers Ask Questions, They Want Explanations:

Why Children Ask “Why?”:

8 thoughts on “What Dat Mum?

  1. That kind of questioning is for me the joys of teaching. Never think you are responsible for handing over all those answers. Leave that kind of creativity up to them. Let them become independent researchers who love finding out or even making up answers to their, (what will become), millions of questions. It’s not for you or google to find the answers. That’s what their questions are for…to make them curious enough to be motivated to find out how to answer their own queries. So what is your role. Mentor. Guide them. But never answer them. Ask the question back at them….”Yeah what is that called on the end of the brush? What does it remind you of? What are they for? What do you think?” Have fun with hearing the amazing answers they come up with. In time the misconceptions will be replaced with the more proper answers…but for now enjoy the mind of the child. It has so so so much to teach us!


  2. The “whys” could be just around the corner- and they never seem to end! I heard once that kids need to assign a purpose to everything (spoons help us eat, clouds make rain) so they can get very disconcerted when there is no purpose. Some people think this is the basis for all religions.


  3. My kids started asking questions as soon as they could talk. They’re three and five, now, and I can barely remember a time before “why”, and “what is that”, and “what does that do”, and so on, and so on…. Difficult questions started around age three and ran the gamut from what happens when people die, to how do cells divide, to why some kids have two mommies or two daddies instead of a mum and a dad, to how dinosaurs turned into oil…. Yeah, it doesn’t get much easier, but it does mean their juicy brains are growing well, and definitely makes for some good conversation. Also? Google helps. A lot!


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