My daughter is nearly four, an age where she is no longer three but 'nearly four', as she will respond if asked her age. On this giraffe-day I ask why she has to occupy every second of the trip with a game of some sort. This can be the game where she jerkily crouches on my shoulders at the last second to avoid low branches, while shouting 'Doh!'. There's the one where she trails her hand through hedges and cries 'Ow, that prickles!'. And then of course the all time number one. Providing me with a form of Indian head massage to transfer to my scalp whatever it is that has made her hands sticky that day.
I have made the mistake of mentioning the word 'why', a child's favourite word. This prompts a host of reciprical questions, all of which when answered will draw another 'why' response from her.
I try and put an end to this barrage, adding all the weight of my 31 years, work experience and education. I ask why she always has to know everything works - literally from the birds to the bees. I ask her why she has to know the reason it isn't wrong to swat a fly, but it is to swat a butterfly (with a 'swyflotter').
Before she has chance to answer I unleash a fresh wave of attacks in this playful battle. I ask her what it is that makes her want to explore and investigate the smallest and largest things. I go so far as to ask 'why are you a girl who seeks answers to the metaphysical connundra that have plagued mankind since time began?'.
After this onslaught she pauses. 'Do you mean why am I a girl who asks why a lot?'. It is exactly what I mean, and I am beaten again!