Why, oh why, must you ask why?

I survived the “why” stage with Brady with only a few exasperated outbursts of “Because I said so!” I hate that answer and I have always tried to give a real answer when my kids ask why.
Brady’s questions were usually inquisitive in nature: Why does the sun rise in the east? Why do I have to go to bed if the moon doesn’t? Why won’t it snow in the summertime?
He asked me a few good ones when I was pregnant with Colin. He wanted to know how the baby was going to come out so I gave him the G-rated version. He looked at me skeptically and asked, “You have a hole big enough to fit a baby?!?” Yes, son, it seems hard to believe but that’s how you came out, and your brother, and that’s how this baby will come out, too. A few months later he asked me a question I was totally unprepared for: Where did the first baby come from if there was no mommy to have the baby? Wow. I was taken aback and somehow stuttered through an answer. A few days later I was telling a co-worker and she gave me some great advice; whenever you don’t know how to answer a question, turn the question around to your child and ask them what they think. It will buy you a little time to come up with an answer and it let’s you know along what lines they are thinking. Sometimes as parents, we make things overly complicated when all they want is a simple answer.
Today, I was grocery shopping with my three-year-old, Sully, who is in the throws of the “why” stage. It was a long trip and by the end my sciatica was bothering me and I was in a hurry to get home to get dinner on and feed the baby. I had to leave the line once when I realized I had forgotten a critical item. I returned to a different line with the world’s second slowest checker. When it was nearly my turn, he was replaced and I breathed a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, he was replaced by the world’s first slowest checker. By the time we were walking out, I was tired and in pain and Sully asked me, “Why are we done grocery shopping?” Sully’s questions are always like that, nearly impossible to answer without “Because we are,” or “Because I said so,” or something along those lines. I looked at him and said, “I don’t know how to answer that.” He replied, “Ummmmm…….because?” I laughed out loud, I guess he was just looking for a simple answer and if I was more on my parenting game and not so tired I might have asked him why he thought we were done shopping.
I came home and searched the internet for ‘why children ask why’ and stumbled upon this lady. I think she gives some terrific advice for avoiding rationalizing with a three-year old since they lack reasoning skills at that age. She also suggests turning the question back to the child. My co-worker had given me great advice! The best part is, it’s easier to turn the question back to your child than it is to play the “why” game where every question leads to another “why.”
As I continue through this stage with Sully and will someday enter it with Colin, I have to remind myself to have a little more patience and not get so annoyed by their many questions and realize that sometimes all they might want to hear is “Because,” and that’s okay.

About jillo31

I always wanted to write the great American novel. I've come to the realization that that may not happen. Instead, I'm going to write about my life as a working mom to three boys. I figure in ten years, I won't remember what these days are like. I want to record my everyday victories and struggles.
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