I have a very distinct memory of my 10 year-old self walking to the convenience store with my best friend one afternoon. At one point, we happened to pass a house with a child playing in the front yard; a little boy. I was talking with my friend when the (by my estimation at the time) 3 year old decided to interrupt our conversation.
Boy: what are you doing?
Me: taking a walk.
Me: because my friend and I are going to the convenience store.
Me: because we’re going to buy some candy.
Me: because we feel like eating some.
Me: because…well because that’s the way it is
And on that, my friend and I decided to continue our walk despite the fact that the little boy persisted in asking (and eventually shouting) the word “why” to us as we walked away.
I remember feeling completely overwhelmed by the questions. I remember feeling frustrated by the fact that my answers only brought on more questions and, perhaps even more so, that I wasn’t able to find an answer that would satiate his curiosity.
I often think of this situation because Charles is at an age where he is just full of VIQs, all of which need answering, immediately. Most of the time, they come when I’m driving him to or from daycare. Unfortunately, I can’t walk away from a string of questions anymore (or at least, I can’t while I’m driving – perhaps that’s why he decides to let the loose during those moments).
I try very hard to answer his questions when I can and to be patient with him because I know that it’s a very important part in his development. I sometimes have to answer “I don’t know” and have usually concluded with a “what/why do you think?” and sometimes, when he asks a question, he’ll answer it with one of his on hypothesis instead of waiting for an answer from me. More often than I would like, I just say “because that’s the way it is” because sometimes (ok, often) his incessant string of questions just drives me nuts, especially because most of his questions come at moments where I need to really focus on my driving.
Here is the most recent string of VIQs that Charles has had with me:
Charles: Why don’t polar bears like the snow?
Me: They DO like the snow.
Charles: Ok then, why aren’t there any polar bears here? (Remember, we’re in the middle of winter here)
Me: Oh, well, because it gets too hot here once there isn’t any snow anymore.
Charles: Why don’t they like it when it’s hot?
Me: Because their bodies aren’t made to tolerate the heat.
Me: Well…um…because their ears are too small to let the heat escape properly and their fur is too thick.
Charles: What’s over there? (Pointing to a clearing between the trees where a row of electricity pylons is leading away from the road)
Me: Electricity pylons.
Charles: No, but after the electricity pylons is that South over there?
Me: I have no clue.
Charles: You know, South like the jungle! What animals are in the jungle?
Me: Well, um, there are antelope and gaz…
Charles: What are antelope?!?
I’ll spare you the last 28 minutes of questions that followed ;).
How do you deal with the VIQ period? What’s your interrogator’s favorite moment/place to ask his/her string of questions?