From the sound of one hand clapping to defining our very existence, philosophers have pondered life’s greatest questions for millennia.
But few share a toddler’s sense of urgency when it comes to a desire for answers. And I’ll wager even fewer are chewing on a Shreddie while pulling at their mother’s pyjamas.
“Mummy, where’s your winky gone?”
It is 7am on a Sunday. I have the radio on in the hope that someone else is also awake, and had been wondering if Clare Balding pre-recorded her show or was, like me, up Very Early Indeed. I was anticipating a coffee and toast in front of Mike the Knight, but I am now embroiled in an interrogation, as unexpected as it is alarming.
“Umm, I don’t have a winky Raffie. Daddy and Raffie do, but not Mummy.”
And so the day has finally arrived. Mr Why has been staring through the window every now and then for a while. Peeking through the letterbox. Poking his head round the door. Now he’s let himself in, trudged mud into the carpet, and is busy getting his feet under the table. And I won’t be putting out the bunting.
As soon as Raffie started asking ‘What’s that?’ I’ve been expecting Mr Why’s calling card. But naively I thought he may have given me a year’s grace, primarily so I could amass and retain vast amounts of information.
With nowhere to hide, I could only reply, “Well Mummies’ bodies are different to Daddies. Girls don’t have a winky. You’re a boy aren’t you?”
“Am I a girl?”
“Well girls don’t have winkies.”
“Oh. Never mind Mummy, never mind.”
“Thank you Raffie.”
And with that, I have dodged a winky bullet for another day. But that day will soon come again, so any toddler proof explanations will be gratefully received.
And it’s led me to consider some questions of my own. I never thought I would share anything with a philosopher, but it turns out Socrates and I have something in common, in that I know one thing, and that is I know nothing, especially when it comes to Mr Why.