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The questions he asks

2009-02-21 , ,

I used to think it was a joke but as the parent of a three and a half year-old, I know first hand that kids endlessly ask questions. What’s interesting is the evidence of his developing awareness:

  • Why does the moon follow us?
  • Where do birds go at night?
  • Why do some people have dark skin?
  • Where do cars come from?
  • Why is there fighting in Israel? (After hearing NPR while I drove him to daycare)
  • Where do boo-boo’s go?
  • Can I see the bones inside me? (After finding my medical text on anatomy)
  • Are pirates bad guys? (I’m guessing more NPR…)
  • Do crows eat garbage? (The Hudson valley has a lot of crows)

But just the other day after reading the children’s book [What Pet to Get](, the questions got harder. In the story the little boy suggests a dinosaur as a pet, the mother says that they’re “extinct”. We explained what extinct means.

Nate asked “Dinosaurs are extinct?” Then he volunteered, “There’s nothing but bones left?”
“Is the mastodon extinct?” He loves the Cohoes Mastodon [exhibit at the New York State museum](
“Extinct things are not alive anymore?”
“They’re dead?”
“Yes… why do you ask?” Uh, oh. Maria laughed at me.
“Will Knuckles be extinct?” Knuckles is our cat.
“Not extinct, he’s going to be alive for a long time. Cats can live to be 20 years old. You’re three so it’s a long time.”
“Will Brandy be extinct?” Oh, boy. Brandy is his grandparents’ dog.
“She’s old, but not extinct,” I pause. “Extinct means there’s no more of that kind of animal.”
You could see the gears turning. The next questions are not going to be easy.


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