Petra constantly surprises me with what she comes up with. When Silas asks me a question, he just wants an answer. If I say, “What do you think?” he just shrugs like, “How should I know? That’s why I asked you.” But Petra always has a theory.

My favorite recent one was, “Where does wind come from?” She said, “I think the leaves on the trees make the wind, because they wave back and forth and that moves the air.” Reasonable, I have to say. I asked her about places where there aren’t trees, or the winter when the leaves are all down. She said that the wind from trees in other places comes to us.

I tried to explain about warm air and cold air making each other move, but she would have none of it. Her theory made more sense.

Stinker's a thinker.
Stinker’s a thinker.

She asks questions about all the little details of things, picking at every bit until she understands it. And that’s how she has figured out:

  • How zippers work (“You move the slider up and it pushes the teeth into each other and they stick together like this [interlocking fingers]”).
  • How fire works (“You light the match and it makes the paper burn and the paper makes the twigs burn and the twigs make the branches burn and the branches make the logs burn. Except if it’s wet or windy and then it doesn’t burn.” She has a great eye roll, which she used on her big brother the other day when they asked me to make a fire, and Silas said, “Why are you piling wood on there? I just wanted a fire, not wood.”)
  • All the different numbers that add up to 5.
  • The basic facts of life, including why we will not have more babies and why women have breasts (“I’m glad we will not have more babies because I don’t want babies to chew on my toys.”)
  • What makes someone a cousin vs. an aunt vs. their couple of honorary aunts and uncles, who are not relatives.
  • How skis work (“You aren’t as heavy in one spot, so you float on the snow.”)

Petra hates anything she can’t figure out, but she doesn’t get frustrated. She just digs at it more and more until it yields its secrets.

Which is how she’s doing this:

She’s been reading a bit, slowly and painfully, since last summer, but in the past week, something has clicked. She’s really taking off!
Oh, and we love BOB Books.


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