Wednesday, September 29, 2010

When You Are Four...

Four is a great age. It's an age of discovery and questions. Fortunately, when you're four, your mother knows EVERYTHING. She has all of the answers, and saying "I don't know" is like pulling the rug out from under those four year-old feet. (And usually results in some kind of emotional melt-down.)

When my son asked me where the hot water came from, I showed him our hot water heater. Easy, right? Then he asked me where the cold water comes from. Well, I don't know where the cold water comes from. I told him it came out of the pipes that way. Which, by the way he did not buy at all.

I'm a writer. I like to think I have a great imagination. But I also like to tell him how things are. So while I could have told him that the cold water came from the city under the house manned by small earthen creatures, I just endured the meltdown.

Has your child ever asked you a question you couldn't answer? And can somebody PLEASE tell me where cold water comes from? (Real and imaginary answers are welcome.)


  1. That's a fun question. My kids have asked me questions I'm not ready to answer, so I come up with a truthful statement and move on. There is only so much they need to know when they are little, but I don't want to give the wrong ideas.

    For the cold water I'd point out the next water tower you see, I don't know if you have a lot of those where you live, but we do, and tell him the cold water comes from there. If he still insistent to know more see if you can take him to a water processing plant or get a book about how they collect and treat water. I don't know my kids know too much about how things work most likely.

  2. Oh, I've been there many times. I can't even remember the number because Dino Boy will play the why game until it's cyclical.

    "But why do we breathe air?"

    "Because we need oxygen."

    "Why do we need oxygen?"

    "So our brains can function."

    "Why do our brains function?"


  3. I though the cold water just came out of the pipes that way. Hmmm.

  4. Mim-Good idea about the water tower.

    Natalie-Our brains function so we can write novels.

    Susan-I even googled it. I give up.

    Melissa-I thought it was a pretty good answer. Lacked innovation, but still...

  5. My daughter was the little philosopher at that age. She'd nail me with questions like "what is a soul?" Thankfully, my hubby is a philosophy prof, so I'd just say, "go ask Daddy."

    Your best answers when you're stumped is "I'll have to look that up" or "why don't we research that?" You'll empower him to keep asking questions and love learning.

    I'd recommend _Magic School Bus at the Waterworks_ to answer the "where does cold water come from?" question. It's a great introduction to the water cycle and how water is treated for human use. With cute illustrations!

  6. The best line I ever read was from a Calvin and HObbes cartoon. Calvin is looking at his dad's black and white photos and asked why they aren't in color and the dad says, "Because back then the world was black and white"

    As for the water question, if you want to tell him the truth then Laurel has the right idea: Magic School Bus is awesome

  7. Can I count the number of times my kids ask me questions I can't answer. I've gotten really good at saying, "Let's google it."

  8. Our water is well water, which means it comes straight from under the ground next to our house, and under the ground is really cold. That's why our water is cold. The ground is also muddy and orange, which is why sometimes our water looks vaguely that way too. :)

    I love Patti's Calvin quote. I love Calvin.

  9. Ha ha! I kind of like the small earthen creatures answer!

  10. Laurel-Wow, what a deep question! A great idea to search for answers with your kids, and thanks for the book rec.

    Patti-I love Calvin and Hobbes.

    Lois-I actually did google the cold water thing, but came up with no one answer.

    Heidi-Ha! That's funny! So if you start looking a little orange, you know why. (That or self-tanning lotion.)

    Shannon-If I really used the small earthen creatures answer, then my son would probably have nightmares because he already thinks that bad dreams come out of the ground up into his pillow.

  11. how bout...up on Mount Everest, a colony of unicorns gather round a spring and that evening's chosen one dips its horn into the water, purifying and crystallizing the watering hole. Then when the unicorn shaman shakes his rainbow-colored mane, all the unicorns stampede over the frozen spring, crushing and melting the water which then runs off down the mountain into your pipes and out your spigot.

  12. Jude-Your imaginary answer is WAY better than mine.

    Shelli-I've explained death and heaven to my son, but I gotta wonder how much he really GETS at this age.

  13. Hello, I saew you mentioned on Melissa's site and thought I'd stop by. A great post, you are right 4 is a great age - a time of many changes and new adventures.

  14. My husband and I built our house - I plumbed. Cold water is what comes straight from the pipes. Hot water has to be heated up - by your water heater/furnace depending on your system. EVEN if you live somewhere really hot, the water is underground for long enough before coming to your house that its cold. If you have a well - your water is cold because it lives underneath your house.

    Though - at your house - it could be these special blue gnomes. They come from Alaska and they're always cold, like little blue balls of ice. They bathe (don't worry they're clean) in the pipes underneath your house and by so doing, make your water cold.
    Actually - that might give your four year old nightmares...