When I was in the classroom, I always, always, always explained to students why. When I asked them to do something, I gave them a reason. I didn't actually do this consciously. But I did it. And I realized I was doing it a couple years into teaching when one student who I'd had multiple times commented that one thing she loved about me was that I always gave a reason. She said it made her feel like I was treating them like adults, not making demanding orders so much as requesting they do something, and for good reason.
Apparently, though, I am not so good at this with toddlers and preschoolers. Maybe I feel more a sense of entitlement given that I'm their mother. Or maybe it's that I think little kids can only hold so much information in their heads, and giving a reason is just that little bit too much. And probably it's because I don't want to treat my almost-2-year-old and 4 1/2 year old like they are young adults. Because, duh, they aren't.
But that sure doesn't stop them from asking why. It's a relatively new phenomenon in our house. But it's not just Casey. Oh, no. Marcie does it, too. A lot. Is that normal for a 21 month old? I honestly can't tell if she even understands what she's asking. But she always uses the word correctly and in context. And usually, after I actually do tell her why, she says, "Okay, Mommy." And that's the end of it. Unless my reason is either "Because I said so" or "Because I'm the mommy." Then she just looks at me funny. And, really, I don't blame her.