Sometimes I catch myself feeling insanely envious of my three year old. Of course I do admire and secretly hope to keep up with that boundless energy but in the past few weeks I have at various moments envied his thirst for knowledge.

My son Kabir is at a stage where he asks questions from the moment he wakes up. Usually it is a customary good morning, followed closely by a scrutiny of why it is so bright or dark outside his window? Is it because of rain or cloud cover? Even when the lights are out and we are getting ready for bed, there will be a few minutes dedicated to wondering about some happenstance from his day. The kid is full of whys and why nots and as parents it can make you wonder why you don’t ask the same questions or have that insane curiosity.

The instances that undervalue your curiosity present itself through the day. When we watch television I automatically type the number of the channel I want to watch while he will scroll and stop awhile at every channel, just taking in the new sights and sounds. Maybe there will be something interesting? Nursing an IPL and cricket hangover he has stumbled upon Pro Kabaddi and though he makes up his own rules he is determined to catch every match and rationalise every fall.

Different levels of curiosity

We have recently spent a few days poring over pictures of bats and spent every evening walk looking up at the sky trying to spot bats. All because he asked me why Batman doesn’t hold a (cricket) bat and I told him the bats Batman was associated with were of a different kind.

When he catches me with my tablet and asks me what I’m looking at, I am ashamed to tell him I’m snooping on Facebook acquaintances to see what they are up to and how successful they are now. My grownup level of curiosity just seems insignificant next to his worldly quest for knowledge.

But I know that I can exult for a while. I know I can feel a sense of superiority simply because I am providing the answers to all his questions. However big or small, I know what to say. He probably sees me as a font of knowledge. A maternal form of Google he can turn to for every one of his questions. After all, there isn’t much for me to learn from him, right?

Except there is. Try looking at your day through the eyes of a little one and you will find yourself at once wondering how something can be so educative and exhausting at the same time.

It is by looking at the brave, unyielding yet untiring efforts of my son that I have learnt it is foolish to take anything for granted. By watching him take the stairs, I now know that taking the stairs two at a time is something I take as a given. He has been trying to climb two steps at a time for the past few months now. His legs can’t seem to increase in length fast enough to meet his goal.

Who is smarter?

From him I learn to savour and enjoy every little Hot Wheels car when we clean up. Just taking a minute or two to admire the different contours and colours on each car and the thought that goes into making each one instead of the grownup way of hauling every toy into a dustpan and emptying it all at once unceremoniously into a toy bin.

It doesn’t matter how tall you end up growing, it’s important to celebrate every inch you grow. Because every tiny inch brings you closer to pressing that elevator button that is so annoyingly out of reach for a three year old. Every inch will bring him closer to independence, also read as not needing an older person to accompany him just so they can press the elevator buttons.

The simplicity of bubbles. The feel of grass or gravel under your feet. The complexity of smooth surfaces that don’t have enough traction. Or the unyielding tightness of corners that need to be loosened. All these hold mysteries that need to be explored. Questions stem from all these places that we, as grownups and the gatekeepers of knowledge, take for granted but are questioned tirelessly by younger minds.

It makes you wonder who is smarter, doesn’t it? The person providing all the answers or the one thinking of those questions.