Childhood innocence shows itself in many ways. Children love to question, to find out all the whys and wherefores. This learning curve is inevitable and often tries our adult patience resulting in our brain countering with profound impatience.
Stage I, when quite small:
"Wot that?" child pointing at a mug, a spoon, a duck on the pond or even a sudden sound. At first the adult supplies a word which is put in the child's brain - storage box to be used, but often the adult reply is mis-heard or the tongue is not ready to copy a certain sound. My younger daughter having drunk and received the word 'milk' said, "munk" and drink was "dang" which was acceptable by her older sister and used for quite a while, promoting some amusement.
Stage II, about 5 or 6, is the thinking-about-an-observation-and-wanting-to-know-more stage:
"Mummy" (when I was trying to write).
"What are you writing?"
"I'm trying to write a story."
"I like stories. Will you read it to me at bedtime?"
"I'll read a story to you, but not this one."
"This is a grown-up story – you would not understand."
"Oh. When will I be grown-up?"
"Not for quite a long time. You'll have to be patient and love what happens to you now."
Sudden pause – during which time my thoughts go back to my childhood. I used to speak about 'Daddy's nurses' as my father used to visit several nursing homes as part of his business. Also, we used to go in the car to Prestwick when I would chant "On dewy Prestwick". I would also repeat what my father said about a careless driver ahead and I would acknowledge his words with, "He was a silly bugger, wasn't he, Daddy?" and my mother remonstrated, "Will!" – another silence.
Visit to the local park, Fatheringay. My daughter always had 'duckbread' for the visit.
"Why does that duck walk with a hop?"
"Because he has a bad leg."
"Why is it bad?"
"Because it was broken."
"I don't know. (change subject) Do you want to go to the swings?"
"Ooh yes! But will that horrid boy be there? He pushed me last time."
"Let's see. I promise he won't push you again." Luckily boy not there,
swings needed no question.
As time went on the questions became more involved.
In the garden, planting bulbs:
"What are those? Can I eat them?"
"No. These are bulbs which we plant in the earth. Look – this is a little trowel for you. Dig a hole – like this – and put a bulb in it".
"Yes, then cover it with earth".
"But that's dirty".
"No. The bulb likes the earth cover – a bit like your bedspread which keeps you warm. When the sun shines and there is a little rain, the bulb will press up a shoot and after time, in Spring, the shoot will become a flower."
"Wait and see. Now let's plant some more bulbs".
"If I plant bulbs one on top of another, will a bucket of flowers grow?"
"No, (with a laugh). You mean a bouquet. No – just one hole, cover one bulb. Then a surprise in Spring!"
Bulb planting over. Hands washed. Tea time. Then bed.
"Ye-es" (a little wearily).
"If I stay under my bedspread, will I be a flower?"
"You're my little flower already – go to sleep!"