I've been musing on Dooce's post about her daughter.
I have to say, I asked why? a great deal as a child. In fact, I distinctly remember asking one of my parents a question ("why is the sky blue?") and then asking the same question six months later.
Only to see if their answer would be the same. My Mom called me on it as well at that time - maybe that's why I remember.
Around the age of four my husband would sleep with his feet inside his bedroom, the rest of him in the hallway. He refused to sleep in his bed, and this was the compromise.
In all honesty, I'm pretty certain that most of my friends and people I respect may have been labeled difficult children. Simply because they were bright. They were not about to do whatever you told them to do, they wanted to know why. I'm sure that everyone had their differences, some climbed everywhere so you worried for their safety. Others might have put everything into their mouths or played consistently in the mud/sand. I distinctly remember three or four pieces of gum being removed from my hair (really, I don't remember how they got there). For the record, peanut butter typically did the trick.
It's the conundrum of the parent. You want your child to be the brightest and most intelligent person around. Yet being bright and intelligent has its downfalls. Some people are gifted socialites, gifted engineers, gifted artists. And to some extent that's in the genes.
But this kind of intelligence is messy. It's difficult to deal with. Sometimes you might think wistfully that it would be nice to have a two year old who would sit for hours and color - but really, is that what I want?
In my case, my son is already testing his limits. He does something again, even after I've told him no - looking at me and saying "time out? time out?".
For example, the other night, his sister accidentally hit me with a car. I told her she shouldn't hit and she would go in time out if she hit me again. She stopped.
But my son, noggin - was very concerned. He leaned in, looked me straight in the eye (to make sure I knew exactly what he was saying) and said "time out? time out?". Because typically he will continue to hit or bounce or whatever until he's put in time out. He does not stop after he's told no. If he does, it's rare and an odd situation.
It is frustrating (maddening at times) to deal with - but I also realize that he's really just trying to figure out just where he stands. Because he doesn't know. Instead of dropping the spoon to see if I'll pick it up, this time he's checking to see if I'll respond the same way next time.
He's started experimenting with people instead of objects.
I think I understand now why the parent/child relationship is so important and shapes us throughout our lives. (Yeah, as if it wasn't obvious before, but still) If you don't have that interaction - someone to ask questions to - someone who responds - someone who is consistent - I can understand why it could be devastating to your psyche. Parents have a tremendous amount of influence, power and responsibility. It's amazing anyone is up for the task.