This week, J's exploration of and curiosity about the world have blossomed in a new way. She's fallen head over heels in love with nesting dolls, and she's started to ask that quintessential question of childhood exploration, "Why?"

Since she discovered the Russian dolls that had been gathering dust on my dresser for years, literally hours of her days have been occupied by taking them apart, putting them together, lining them up, feeding them pretend juice, giving them baths, and carrying them upstairs and downstairs. She wakes up asking, "Where are my dollies?" She seems to delight in the way that they can just be one or many and that she is the one who can make the change from plural to singular and back again.

At just about the same time, seemingly out of nowhere, came "Why?" From zero to sixty in no time flat, she pulls out this question constantly now. We're not even sure she knew the word last week! Like all else in conversation with J. these days, repetition is rampant. So, one gets asked "Why..." about everything in triplicate, at least. For the most part, anything will do when it comes to the answer. When it applies, "I don't know" seems to work, at least for the moment. It's clear that she's listening, though, as she works the information gained by her questioning into her rolling commentary throughout the day.

I love what these new reaches in her cognitive development suggest. I love that she's figuring out her ability to change her world and inquire about it. I love the juxtaposition of these new skills--in both cases she's finding out about digging deeper.

Watching her this week has created a bridge between my world of mothering and my work as a therapist (one of many I hope to write about here). As I've observed my lovely girl, I've been reflecting about these tasks of therapy: exploring various selves and looking for reasons and, ultimately, meaning. I'm looking forward to my coming week of work with clients to see what sitting with these themes might bring.

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