The parents of a two-year-old boy from Birmingham told of their shock last night after the toddler finally accepted an answer to the question “why?” and went off to play with his train set, seemingly satisfied.
The couple, who have chosen to remain anonymous for fear of receiving begging letters from desperate parents across the world, pleading for tactical help, admit they have no idea how they managed an achievement that experts have branded “completely unique”.
“He came up to me and asked me why trains have wheels” the still bemused father told the local press, “I said to him that they helped the locomotive run along the track. He then asked ‘why?’, to which I explained that the shape of a wheel is ideal for rolling forwards.
He thought about that for a while and then asked ‘why?’ so I let him know that the lack of corners made a smooth ride. Then he said ‘why?’. So I offered him some scrap of knowledge from the back of my brain about them reducing friction and providing leverage and then he looked me in the eye, muttered, “oh, okay” and wandered off.”
“We couldn’t believe it” interjected the boy’s mum. “We were expecting at least 15 more ‘why?’s before we’d have to distract him with an episode of Bluey on iPlayer, but he just accepted the answer and went off on his way. We couldn’t believe it at first, but we certainly celebrated once he was tucked up in bed. We even popped the cork on the 20-year-old bottle of Asti Spumante we’ve been saving for a special occasion.”
“Don’t ask me how I did it” said the dad, “it’s never happened before and I’m fairly sure it won’t happen again. It seems like pot luck. I’ve asked around at playgroup and no one else has ever found a satisfactory answer to a toddler when they keep asking ‘why?
We’ll be certain to put some lottery numbers on at the weekend. We’re feeling lucky.”
The science bit
Indeed, the couple’s experience is most unusual, and the case has intrigued scientists across the globe.
“There are 1.9 billion children in the world,” said Dr Tom Wilson, Head of Parent Stuff at Oxford University’s Barry Chuckle College, “and we estimate that the chances of this happening are around 1.9 billion to one, so it is very rare.”
Indeed, it is the first time Dr Wilson can recall hearing of it happening at all. “The average number of times a toddler asks ‘why?’ is around 32 in one sitting, but it usually ends with one or both parents sighing, muttering ‘because I said so’ and running away swiftly from the room. It never, ever concludes with the child actually accepting the answer. We are in uncharted territory here.”
Dr Wilson has pledged that his research team will divert all of their resources currently dedicated to finding out why small children can’t possibly eat a morsel of cabbage but can wolf down three ice creams in a row into examining the toddler at the heart of this case in an attempt to find a way to successfully answer the question ‘why?’ once and for all.
We’ll keep you posted with the results.