Edited to add: Sometimes I feel sorry for Answer Boy (and the rest of us) for the barrage of questions we endure. But Question Boy has his work cut out for him, too. This morning, he tried valiantly to insist that he’s older than his older brother. Answer Boy, exasperated, finally said, “Did you notice when you were a tiny tiny baby that I was already alive? That’s another point.”
I don’t know how it works in families with children very close in age, but here we have Question Boy and Answer Boy. Their questions and answers don’t always sync up, of course, but they do try.

Question: How does the light work?
Answer: There’s a switch in the wall, connected to wires. And when you press the switch, it makes the wires connect, and that makes a circuit which makes energy which goes to the light and it turns on!

Question: How does the house work?
Answer: What do you mean, how does the house work?! It has walls and a roof!

Question: How does the garden work?
Answer: You need dirt, and sun and rain. And seeds. Or you can start with plants. But seeds will grow into plants, and that makes a garden.

Question: How does a duck work?
Answer: It starts with an egg, and an egg has a little baby duck inside. Or maybe you start with the mama duck?

And with that, stumped by the question that has stumped great thinkers through the ages, Answer Boy gave up and just ate his breakfast.


  1. kate says:

    I love these! And how funny that he stumbled upon the chicken-and-the-egg quandry all by himself– I for one certainly never thought about it until someone posed it to me…

  2. My daughter is five, and we just had a baby. I’m looking forward to the stage you’re describing. It also occurs to me that it might be a relief to get to delegate some of the question-answering for Child #2

  3. Violeta says:

    Oh I love this! I wonder how it will work for us… Right now, since Maya’s got the edge of a few weeks of age, she’s just very fond of telling Joaquin what to do. For example, a few days ago she said “Sit down in your seat!” (somewhat mispronounced) and her favorite thing is to chase him, going, “No! NO! DON’T!!!” His answer: “Ya-ya! Yeti, yeti, YETI!” (Ya-ya= Maya, Yeti= yeti) An attempt to even the playing field?

  4. SRK says:

    Ha! That’s so perfect!
    Last week Indra asked me two questions within a short time span that still make me smile (since she’s an only child I’m the de facto answerer most of the time). The first question was: “What does defintion mean?” (I had a good time with that one) the second one — an hour later, as I was strapping her in her seat belt: “What is or else?” I wish I had Ben around…

  5. Aliki2006 says:

    T. still hasn’t gotten into that “why” stage that I remember my son going through. She doesn’t ask many questions, but she gets lots of answers from her big brother–constantly–whether she likes it or not!

    P.S. I let you some bling over my way.

  6. Daphne says:

    I hope you’re collecting all these answers in a “The World According to Ben” book. They are wonderful.

  7. Answer Boy sounds like he is going to be a philosopher when he grows up!

  8. Lilian says:

    AWESOME!! I have to write the boys’ conversations sometime!