La Más Why

August 24, 2011 By: erik Category: Funny, Parenting, Spanish, Videos 293 views

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Spanish QuestionEarlier today I came up with a Spanglish joke: “Mi hija es la más why del mundo.” Like most one-liners, it’s a play on words. It is pronounced exactly the same as the syntactically correct Spanish sentence, “Mi hija es la más guay del mundo” The word “guay”, which is pronounced exactly like the English word “why”, and I think is only slang in Castilian Spanish, is a general positive adjective mainly used by youth that could translate to the English words cool, great, awesome or terrific. So the meaning of the proper sentence “My daughter is the awesomest in the world.” Of course the joke was to substitute her new favorite English word, making her “the most ‘why’ daughter in the world”.

Why, oh why?

We knew it was coming, and it’s here: The Why Phase. Her new favorite thing to do is to walk up to you and say, “What are you doing?”, and almost before you can answer, she’s asking, “Why?” I can normally last for about two Why iterations before I end it with “Because it is,” and stop responding to further inquiry. At this point, I think that only about 20% of her motivation in these interrogations is curiosity and a thirst for knowledge about the world around her; the other 80% is just a desire to have a conversation, and she’s learned that asking someone about themselves and then asking follow up questions is a great way to get people to talk. It’s more of a thirst for language than anything else.

Did you know that if you go to any Wikipedia article and click on the very first link in the article, and then click on the very first link in the next article, continuing on and on like this avoiding loops, you will eventually end up at Philosophy? This works for any starting article. Try it.

The same is true of answering repeated Why questions. You can retard the spiral, but sooner or later, you’ll find yourself crossing the epistemological event horizon.

Never has this been so well demonstrated as in Louis C.K.’s stand-up routine about having children. I watched this before my daughter was born and it only gets more and more true with each day of parenthood. Like everything Louis C.K. does, it’s both extremely hilarious and extremely vulgar. NSFW language. Viewer discretion is advised. The best bit, about non-parents criticizing parents, starts at 6:18. The Why bit starts at 7:19. It’s very guay.

  • aquariumdrinker

    I found “why do you think that is?” to be a more effective deterrent than “because it is”, and it opens up the possibility of one of those great conversations about how the world looks through her eyes.

    • I’m planning on that, but I don’t think she’s quite ready to postulate reasons at the moment. And most of her questions are more like:

      N: What is that?
      E: A door.
      N: Why?

      Which aren’t quite suitable for such deflection. But thanks, though.

  • Lee

    This is why my mother practically forced me to work as a babysitter from the ages of 14 to 18. It gave me a very realistic idea of what taking care of kids is (though, clearly, only a fraction of the reality). I love kids but I have enormous respect for all of you who have to do it all day, every day.

    • I would gladly pay our daycare double for the few hours of peace they provide us every day. Stay-at-home 24-hour parents (with no extended family to help) amaze me. It must age you almost as much as a US presidential term.

      • Paul

        I know! Send Nora to the States to summer there!

  • Jose

    Very funny. I like the part where they invent the rules of the games they play with you so they always win. It’s true. I’m not still a parent but I have a couple of nephews. They don’t even let you score a single point. If you do, they change the rules of the game so you don’t get the point. You have to compromise between letting them win to keep them happy, and teaching them to loose sometimes.
    The questions part reminds me of a play from a group I love, Les Luthiers, wich I present here if it doesn’ bother (in Spanish)