Thursday, September 27, 2007


Jonathan, please come here.
Because we need to get you dressed.
Because we're going for a walk.
Because I thought you'd like to go for a walk.
I have no idea. Never mind.

A few minutes later:

I thought we were going for a walk?
We were, but you didn't want to put your clothes on.

I'm doing my best to stay patient, but this really is rather taxing. Because this is not an isolated incident - this is my life right now. All day. If he is awake, he is asking me "why?"

Some of the questions are legitimate and have real answers. Some are silly. Some are stalling tactics. Sometimes I think it is just his default word when he can't think of anything to say but must say something anyway.

Does anyone have good ideas for coping with this?


slowlane said...

My brother still does this to me. The shortest way I know to stop it is to say "Because God made it that way" and then after the next why, "Take it up with Him."

I know, completely unhelpful for a toddler.

You could always take the annoying teacher route and say "Good question, why don't you figure that out" or the annoying sister route and say "I know you are, but what am I?" or the classic mom route "Because I said so."

Anonymous said...

My mom always did this with me, and I do it with the kids I babysit. If they ask why? I just say, why do you think? It invites them to answer if they feel the need, but most of the time it just makes them be quiet :)


Anonymous said...

I can't remember where I read this suggestion, but it was some parenting website or book. Anyway, I thought it was an interesting way of dealing with too many "why?"s. It may not work for such a little boy, but might be helpful later on down the road. I haven't had the chance to try it myself, so it's just an idea.

The author suggested giving your child 10 (or 20 or however many you want) answered questions per day. Make some sort of visual reminder of this quota. Bookmark size pieces of paper hanging on the fridge, for instance. Explain that he can ask as many questions as he wants, but he only gets to get a certain number of them answered. Then when he starts with his why questions, answer one and take a mark off the fridge. There goes one answer. If he asks another, ask him if he really wants an answer to this one. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't. Make a big deal of how many answers he has left, etc. I think the idea is that after a few days, your child gets the idea that mommy can only answer a limited number of questions and he should try to ask only questions that he wants an answer to--not questions that aren't really questions that drive mommy crazy! ;)


Sarah Marie said...


That's so funny.. it sounds like something a *girl* would do, being like that... "why? why? why?... wait, I thought you said we could..." That is hilarious.

Sorry, ok, now I'll stop laughing and start being sympathetic to what you're going through... ;)

Jessica said...

Plan on drinking a glass of nice wine every day, because it's going to continue for at least the next year.


Um, seriously though, I had an insight the other day that's been helping me with B's case of the why's: you know how it's easy, when your baby's little, to know why your a SAHM? Because if your baby were in daycare, he wouldn't get held, and that's his developmental need at the moment. Big, obvious, developmental need.

Well, I think getting answers to most of the "why?" questions is a developmental need of the 2-3 year old set. They're on this huge project of figuring out how the world works. And as a SAHM, you probably manage to catch over 90% of the "why's", and even though some of them are frivolous, a lot of them are very real, and are laying the groundwork for learning for the rest of the kiddo's life. Brie asked a "why" about shadows the other day, and as I explained to her that our bodies cast shadows because they're solid and they block the light coming from the streetlamp behind us, I realized we were doing science.

If I wasn't there to catch those "why's", my daughter would be living in an unexplained and inexplicable world.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say, in short, is: it's annoying, but in answering those questions you're doing a huge service to your son. You're helping him, over 100 times a day, learning the secret of the life, the universe and everything. :D

Just a recent musing of mine; it made me happier with why's because I feel better about things when I feel like I know the purpose of them.

peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell