But Why?

March 21, 2011 § 1 Comment


Okay…so honestly, how many times have you heard, ‘why’  from your child?  Seriously.  How many times?    I’m sure if your child is anything like most children, you’ve heard this more than you can probably count or really care to remember.   This question can (in some circumstances) becoming irritating, especially when heard way too often.  Some parents even say that they get sucked into the ‘why’ vortex when engaged with a child who continually asks ‘why’.  I can see this happening.  Too many ‘whys’ could send anyones head spinning.   On the other hand, I love that children are so inquisitive and eager to learn.  Most of the time, it is wonderful when everything around them is a question needing to be answered.   This being said, I received a ‘why’ question from my son today.  This time his question was, “Why do fingers wrinkle when in the bath tub?”   Hmmm, since I’m not a master scientist nor ever googled this question before, I had no idea.  So I thought, instead of responding with a standard answer like…”because they just do”, I decided to really find out why.  Little did I know that his scientific question about water and wrinkled fingers would send me into a vortex of my own…

…the epidermis has cells called keratinocytes which form intracellular skeleton proteins called keratin… 

If that is how it begins, you can only imagine where it goes from there.  I was just looking for the Reader’s Digest version, not the version from The American Journal of Science.  So I kept looking and stumbled upon this great little site called – Whyzz.  What is Whyzz.com you ask?  Whyzz.com describes themselves as a site that provides parents with kid-ready information about how the world works so they can satisfy their kids’ thirst for knowledge with read-aloud answers on endless topics.  EUREKA!  I hit the mother lode.  I found my answer and so much more. 

So now that I’ve peaked your curiosity about water and wrinkled fingers, here’s what Whyzz has to say:

 “Sometimes after getting out of the bath, your fingers and toes are all shriveled up, like prunes! Scientists have a few different ideas about why this happens. One likely reason is that when you spend a long time in water, like the bath or a pool, the outermost layer of skin on your fingers and toes soaks up some of the water around you!   By soaking up some water, your fingers and toes become a little bit bigger in size—so, the best way for the extra, water-swelled skin to still fit at the tips of your hands and feet is for them to squish up and wrinkle!  According to this idea, the reason your whole body doesn’t shrivel up is because the outside layer of skin on your hands and feet is different (thicker) than the skin on the rest of your body. It’s the thickest outside layer that soaks up most of the water, so the thinner skin, like on your tummy, doesn’t act the same way in the water.”

What a great explanation for a child (or adult).   Whyzz answers so many questions like this one.  So the next time you are bombarded with “Why?”, know that there is a resource out there to help you and your child get through it.  You may even learn something interesting along the way. Oh, and the phrase, “Just because”, will no longer be in your vocabulary.  How do I know?  Just because…


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§ One Response to But Why?

  • Tracy says:

    Oh boy. We’ll be using this a lot. The “whyzzz” are endless in this household. Thanks for the great tip, friend!

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