Some Dante stories for you today:
Dante got some Lincoln Logs for Christmas, and when I came home from work tonight I saw that he and Laura had been working with them. He said to me, “I want to build a house that is tall!” Laura explained that she’d been building the particular log cabin that the instructions describe, but that when it was finished, none of his little toy people would fit through the door, so he wanted her to build a taller one. She did a bit of classic buck-passing, the old “Maybe Daddy can help you with that when he gets home” routine. So at the end of explaining this to me, she said to Dante, “Once Daddy has finished his dinner, you guys can figure out the Lincoln Log situation.”
He said to me, “The situation is that Mommy can’t get it together!”
Laura and I both lost it. We were laughing so hard that he started laughing too, just to join in the fun. The situation is that Mommy can’t get it together. Poor Mommy — who knew those Lincoln Logs were such an apt metaphor?
He’s taken to cueing us a lot lately. By which I mean, he tells us our line, and then we say it, and he says his response. Like this:
DANTE: Say, “Why do you stack the little logs?”
ME: Why do you stack the little logs?
DANTE: To be support for the big logs!
This frequently comes up when he’s running back and forth in the house, pretending to be some animal or other.
DANTE: [From another room] Say, “What’s coming?”
ME: What’s coming?
DANTE: [While running into the room where I am] A BIG RED DOG!!!
On the other side, man the questioning is just amazingly relentless right now. I read to him before bed, and tonight I must have answered thirty questions in the space of five pages of Paddington. Most of the questions are perfectly sensible, logical questions to learn about things of which he has no experience, or to follow the story, or to understand expressions, like so:
* “Why is there an up escalator and a down escalator?”
* “Why is there a stop button on the escalator?”
* “Where is Paddington right now?”
* “What’s ‘fifty pound fine’?” [After a bit in the story where Paddington reads a sign saying that the stop button on the escalator was for emergencies only, with a fifty pound fine for improper use.]
* [After the line, “A heavy hand fell on Paddington’s shoulder.”] “Why was the hand heavy?”
So I totally support these questions, but man, the intensity is just very high at the moment. He is paying close attention, and anytime there’s something that’s not clear to him, he immediately asks about it. Which is pretty much all the time.
He’s also fallen into a bit of (I think) reflexive why-asking. He’ll do it even immediately after explaining something to me:
DANTE: See this green part? It goes right here.
ME: Ah, I see — it goes there.
DANTE: Why does it go there?
ME: I don’t know! You’re the one who decided that’s where it goes.
Many statements get immediately followed by a restatement with a why attached. Ones like this he often doesn’t even care about the answer — it’s just automatic to ask why. He’ll frequently get immediately distracted if I take even a moment to ponder my answer:
DANTE: I am pretending to be a kitty.
ME: That’s cool.
DANTE: Why that’s cool?
ME: Uh, because I like cats.
DANTE: Why do you like cats?
DANTE: I am eating raisin bread!
ME: I see!
DANTE: Why do you see?
Sometimes I have to stop answering and just laugh instead.