Today, during dinner prep, 3yo held up a large plastic spoon and asked “Why dis a spoon?”
After a day of work, picking up kids, exercising dogs, and squeezing in a workout, this simple question broke my brain.
Why IS this a spoon?
Thinking back, I should have said, “It has a long handle and a small bowl on the end, making it a spoon instead of a fork or knife.”
At the time, my brain just couldn’t handle coming up with that simple explanation. Instead, it malfunctioned.
My inner monologue:
Why IS that a spoon? Is it really a spoon? Is it only a spoon because we say it is a spoon? Could it be something else? Why can’t we just decide it is a fork or a knife? Despite its shape, I can still ineffectively pick up food, cut food, and stab you with it. (“Why a spoon, cousin? Why not an axe something?” “Because it’s dull, you twit. It’ll hurt more.” Miss you, Alan Rickman.) Can’t I call it a miniature shovel? It works the same way. Do labels really mean anything? Why do we even HAVE names for things? This spoon has slots, so it doesn’t even do the one simple job a spoon is SUPPOSED to do! How can it be a spoon if it doesn’t even HOLD all the FOOD?! It should be in a completely different category of objects, one filled with things that only partially do their jobs. Like a doily. What the hell is a doily for? It’s a covering that doesn’t cover things. It gives the illusion of covering things, but really there are more uncovered spots than covered spots. It’s like a rain coat made of fishing nets. It looks like a coat, but it’s not keeping any water off your body! That’s why I don’t have any doilies.
Because I did not respond immediately, she asked again: “Why dis a spoon, Mommy?”
My answer: “Because it is.”
And it’s only Monday.