Monday, April 13, 2009
My little existentialist
Before I had kids, I always harbored a certain amount of disdain for those parents who just brushed off the "Why?" questions of their children. What is so hard about explaining why it has to be cold for it to snow, or why babies can't talk, or any other number of simple "why" questions? I thought these parents were just lazy, or didn't care about teaching their children how the world works.
Now my harsh judgment of others is coming back to haunt me, because these days, Miriam is chock full of questions that begin with the dreaded "why." The easy ones I can handle pretty well, even on autopilot. It's the existential ones that really have me begging for relief. And I finally understand why sometimes, parents just want to say - nay, SCREAM - three simple words: I. DON'T. KNOW. And just have it be accepted by the child as a satisfactory answer.
These are the kinds of questions I'm dealing with:
-Why is it Sunday?
-Why is tomorrow not Sunday?
-Is that our water bottle? -No. -Why isn't that our water bottle?
-You can hold this [container of cinnamon], but don't drop it. - Why can't I drop it? -Because it might break. -Why? -Because if it falls on the floor, the packaging might burst open and get cinnamon everywhere. -Why? (You see how I try my best and it's still not good enough??)
-Mama, can I watch a movie? -No, (and then, anticipating what was coming) because you woke up and got out of bed during the night. -Why did I get out of bed? -YOU TELL ME. (I didn't say that but I really wanted to.)
-Why is this toilet [at the park] silver?
And so on. This constant barrage of WHY is so incredibly fatiguing that my brain actually seems to cringe when I hear her say that word.
Miriam is also a fan of follow-up questions like, "Or else what?" or "Otherwise what?" in order to ascertain the consequences of any given action. So if I tell her to go in her room for quiet time, she has to confirm the situation with an "or else what?" and then we get into a big why-centered discussion on the merits of me taking a break from my children.
Do your kids have questions like this? If so, WHY?