Sunday, 30 September 2012

The "Whys"

Yes, we have hit that dreaded stage, the "why" stage, with our oldest. Ack! Mom is supposed to have all the answers, right? At least we are to let them believe that for as long as we possibly can. And how do we do that? By answering all. their. questions.

On average we get about five "whys" in any given conversation. Here's one that happened recently, as we were watching fish, waiting for our car to get pulled out of the parking lot (yay for cheap valet in Brazil - super nice when you have a big car on narrow roads and don't want to try to parallel park.)

Lucas: Can I touch it?
Me: No, Lucas.
Lucas: Why?
Me: Because the fish needs to be in water, so you can't take it out.
Lucas: But why?
Me: Because if you take the fish out, it will flop all over the place. Fish need water to live.
Lucas: But why?
Me: Because they swim in the water and if you take it out, it can't swim.
Lucas: But....
Me: No buts, let's get out of here! (distraction technique at it's finest)

Sometimes I think he also has the memory of a fish because I swear we had that conversation at least three times while we waited for our car.

Now, I don't want to brush off my kid and abruptly end every conversation that starts with "why". I want to encourage a love of learning, and it starts with being able to ask questions. I never want my kids to think they can't ask me something. So I try to answer as simply and briefly as possible so he will understand, and stay patient while repeating things over and over and over.

But I don't have all the answers, no surprise there. I do have some questions of my own though.

Why do kids choose the most inopportune moment to have a potty crisis?

Why do kids think the toilet bowl is a good alternative to the sink for washing hands?

Why do kids put everything into their mouth? (including previously mentioned "potty hands")

Why do kids wake up just as you're ready for bed, lights out, teeth brushed and dozing off? It's like they have special radar or something.

Most of these questions remain in my mind, probably never to be answered, but my kids are also the target of "why" questions, usually this one:

"Lucas, why did you do that?"

As my kids get older, develop a better grasp on their language, communication and knowledge, I have an idea as to how to deal with the "whys"...

Lucas: Mommy, why is the sky blue?
Me: Why do you think the sky is blue?
Me: :)

Jellibean Journals

Share your "why" questions (yours or your kids) in the comments!


  1. When I worked at the daycare the why's drove my crazy. I finally just started answering because I said so.

    1. Yes, or just "because" - it is crazy enough dealing with one toddler at a time - can't imagine a whole class full!

  2. I do try to answer the whys, but sometimes you have to go the distraction route. =) And I loved your set of whys. Never thought of that, but I bet I could come up with a few...=)

  3. Throw the question back at them...very shrewd!! Me likey!!

  4. Oh! I just hand my hand over my mouth, giggling. Our oldest (also Lucas :) has started taking all of my deflecting strategies and using them on ME.

    Me, upon seeing my 3-year-old son coming out of the bathrooom butt naked after using the potty: Lucas, where is your underwear?!
    Lucas: Oh, I don't know, Mom. Where do you think my underwear is?
    Me: ...

    1. Ha! It edited my post... He was supposed to say that with potty hands in mouth :)

    2. LOL! Yes, they do pick up these strategies too quickly from us. Keeps us on our toes I guess.

  5. Hahah! I swear I had so many questions today that I had to use Google... Yes, my 3 year old stumped me, lol.

    1. Praise God for Google! Seriously, our parents must have just made everything up--or else were super-smart. How would we know the answers to anything without the internet! Taara, we're not quite there with the "why?" stage yet, but hoping you find some answers--for both your son and you ;)

    2. Seriously! I know Lucas and I are going to have a lot of "googling" sessions together as he gets older. I mean, come on, with mommy brain, how can I remember anything I learned in school?

  6. We are almost at the why stage...can hardly wait*sarcasm*!:)

    I am your newest follower my dear and would love it if you followed me too!;-)

    1. It's actually funny, the first time I really realized we were in that stage, Lucas had asked "why" about 10 times in 2 minutes. :) It's fun for a while, but I'm sure it's going to get old real fast.

    2. Hilarious.

      We're at the why stage too. I try to come up with the most honest and innovative answers. It's starting to become a struggle for me. ;)

  7. Haha, I love the way you plan to handle the why's when they get older! Great technique! Thanks for linking up for Mommy Moments Monday!

  8. My husband's gonna flip when our little girl starts the "why" stage. He gets really impatient when even I ask questions involving that word. It'll be fun for me to sit back & watch his reactions. It does seem to be just as I'm heading in to pull back the covers when my baby starts to whine at night. That really is irksome, isn't it. Thanks for sharing, Taara!

  9. My son is also in the Why/What's that stage! And we're in the "Momma, Momma, Mommy..What?" stage. It drives me nuts sometimes but I have to laugh because he just always has this innocent curious look on his face!

    Thanks for sharing. I'm following from the Mommy Moments hop, if you get a chance, please visit me @

  10. ha, ha, ha! The why stage never really ends.

    I am following you from the Mommy Moments hop.

    Visit my blog at

  11. I agree the why stage never really ends. Case in point my tween daughter says can I stay with so and so (whom I have never met)? And of course I say not unless I meet the parents. Her in her most annoying preteen voice says "WHHHHHY Mommy?" You see then I have to answer this question that I am sure I have answered in one form or another at least 50 times.
    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news LOL
    I am following you now from the Monday Mingle.
    Patricia @

  12. Here's my conversation with my 3 year old son when I let him watch Shark Week with me.

    T: "Why are the seals scared of the sharks?"
    Me: "Because the sharks want to eat them."
    T: "Why?"
    Me: "Because that's the kind of food sharks eat."
    T: "Why don't the seals want to be eaten?"
    Me: "Because they die when the sharks eat them."
    T: "Does my food die when I eat it?"

    And my two year old is just starting the why stage too. By the end of the day, I'm worn out!

    Found you on Mommy Mixer.

  13. Ha, this is funny! I'm a little worried about my patience in the "why" stage, I like your strategy!


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