I have always felt that kids are really smart – and today’s generation probably smarter. Smart kids ask questions. And lots of them! My five year old – ‘A’ is also a curious chatterbox with incessant questions. The questions can be on topics that are straightforward, silly, obvious; or they can be tough, or with answers I once knew but forgot, or about something I don’t know at all! Like the other day when this conversation transpired:
A: “What are the 4 layers of the Rainforests momma?”…
Me: “Huh..rainforests! I remember types of rainforests like tropical, equatorial etc.”….(How am I supposed to remember something so distantly connected to me and learnt more than 20 years ago?!)
A: “No, not types! Layers….Forest floor, Canopy, Emergent.. I am missing the layer between Canopy and Forest floor…what is it?”
Me: (Now in deep thought..and with my smartphone to my rescue! Quickly type the three words – Layers of rainforest in my Google App…And Voila! ) “Understory – thats the layer in between” I say confidently.
And off she runs away to resume her play, having her query resolved.
In this one, and numerous situations like this, I have had Google to my rescue…and always has the answers to questions – inconsequential ones, mundane ones, sane ones, insane ones; and the onerous ones!
I sometimes think of my own childhood: how my queries were sometimes answered, other times I was asked to “look up” in the volumes of Encyclopaedias or “How it works” books or on occasional moments, deflected, for the lack of an answer. There were days when the curiosity inside me kept me tossing and turning, but I had no answers to my questions; or had to wait till I went to school (once I was left itching all weekend before I met my Biology teacher to answer “How or why do we get hiccups” – and understand about the diaphragm and the air bubble!). I wonder what it would be like if there was Google then…. Of course, the “Look it up” still remains….while A and me do sit down and look for answers in the reference books we have on most of days; I have moved on the “Look it up” to Google on most days.
Even before she reached the age where she could throw up a volley of questions; being a first time mom, I could make my own Encyclopaedia on “Being mommy & mommy questions” but there wasn’t any with all the answers – ‘Am I pregnant?’ ; ‘I am bloating…Is this right?’; ‘What about her milestones?’ …Of course I had my mother, my doctor to answer some of these; but for the others which couldn’t wait like ‘Is it labour already?’ (I feel a sharp pain midnight in my seventh month); ‘Why is her potty green?’ (At 2 am, holding a whining child and a soiled diaper); or for even ones where they didn’t have all the answers like ‘What book should I read to a 6 month old?’ (Apart from the scriptures) or ‘Potty training in three days (!)’…where did I go? It had to be Google!
(There are parenting books. But are you expecting a panicky, new mom with a green-poop filled diaper in her hands to turn pages until she finds the answer at midnight?)
Yes, I am a Google mom. I am not afraid of answering and she is not afraid to ask. I encourage ‘A’ to ask questions even if I don’t have the answers. I have never once suppressed her inquisitiveness as I know I will find a solution to quench her thirst for knowing more – or at least come close to it. It opens up a new world for me as well – so many concepts that I have relearnt or learnt with her. I have mostly never felt lost even with her in an unknown land as I have Google to direct me! I have never failed at engaging her with something creative as I have Google to give me new ideas. I have always tried to work on interesting school projects with her, as I can learn from others across the globe. I can Google and tell her the rules of football even though I haven’t followed or played ever. I possibly could answer almost anything that comes to her or my mind using just a click!
Remember the commercial of a kids’ health drink in which, when Kajol is confronted by her five yer old with a question: “Why does February have only 28 days?”; she replies, “Kal bataun?” (Can I answer tomorrow)?
I wanted to get into the screen and tell her, “Why tomorrow when you have a smartphone. You can answer now!”
While I do believe kids should be taught to “look it up” in reference guides or almanacs; I also do believe that when we have technology available at our disposal, why not use it? I have all the answers to A’s questions; and even mine. And therefore I can spend more positive time with her; I can add value to our talks and build upon topics; do beautiful things together….and I can spend more time with myself too. Together, Google, me and A are building happy moments that will stay forever…In fact, we both also have lots of time to read…and that should never stop; irrespective of Google or not.
I guess till I find answers to all her questions, Google it will be for me. How is it for you?
Are you a Google mom too?