The anatomy of WHY

June 18, 2013 | 2 Comments

When raising kids, it’s inevitable that pretty much as soon as they realize they can speak, they also begin asking questions. Usually those questions are preceded by the dreaded, WHY?

At first it’s cute.

CHILD: “Why Mommy eyes color of grass?”

MOMMY: “Because, that’s how God made them, just like he made your’s the color of the sky?”

CHILD: “Mommy’s eyes pretty.”

MOMMY: “Ahhh” *kiss *hug *snuggle

Then the why’s get personal.

CHILD: “Daddy, why you have hair there?”

DADDY: *silence “Um” *cough *stutter “Why don’t you go ask Mommy?”

Eventually they whys begin to get annoying.

MOM: We’re having chicken nuggets for dinner?


MOM: Because they’re your favorite.


MOM: Well, you told me last week you liked to dip them in ketchup so that’s why they’re your favorite.


MOM: Why don’t you tell me?


MOM: Because only you know why they’re your favorite.

CHILD: What?

MOM: What, what?

CHILD: What’s my favorite?

MOM: Chicken nuggets.


And why do we continue to engage in these conversations.

When kids enter grade school, these conversations become a little bit more meaningful.

CHILD: Dad, why can I only see part of the moon sometime?

DAD:  Well …  the moon travels once around the Earth every 29 days and the sun shines on the moon at different angles relative to its position. For instance, when the sun is 90-degrees away from the earth it is only half illuminated and that’s why we only see half the moon.

CHILD: That’s not what my teacher said.

Of course it isn’t. Why do we even try to compete with a teacher’s explanation. They are always right and we are always wrong. Learn that lesson and learn it well Mom and Dad. If it hasn’t arrived yet, that day is just around the corner.

As children approach the teenage years the why’s become downright rude, and you long for the intellectual teachable whys to return even though you know your child’s teacher will have the right answer and you won’t.

TWEEN: Why are you always looking at me? You’re creeping me out. And why were you in my room yesterday? I know you were, you moved my dirty clothes off the floor. Stay out and don’t touch anything will ya?  And why are we having this disgusting looking dinner tonight? I’m starving and nows there’s nothing good to eat.

PARENT: *mouth wide open *chin on floor *thinking, “Did he really just talk to me like that?”

Yup, he did. Get used to that too.

But every once in a while, the whys and the hows and the whats of their elementary days return, and you revel in the fact, that these growing, walking, texting, talking, grunting, glaring beings do still have an inquisitive mind. And you are shocked.

This happened to my husband two days ago. We simply went out for yogurt and the kids came home with questions. Why does the yogurt shop use biodegradable spoons. How do they  know they’re biodegradable? How long will it take to biodegrade?

Since we weren’t used to being asked these questions, my husband and I weren’t prepared and simply answered, “We dunno!”

Our kids decided to take it upon themselves to answer these questions for themselves.

The result:

The Great Biodegradable Spoon Experiment

The Great Biodegradable Spoon Experiment

Shortly after the experiment was set in motion, Thing 1 asked about sleeping over a friend’s house the following week.

ME: We’ll see.

THING 1: Why?

ME: Because you are on limited activity because of your concussion, and we have to see how you are feeling, if you have more headaches …

THING 1: But why?

ME: Because …

And there I go again … just like when she was in preschool. Why do I do this to myself?


What’s the best WHY you’ve ever been asked by your kid(s)?


2 Comments so far

  1.    Jen Bailey on June 18, 2013 2:27 pm      Reply

    Love ya Kelly!!!! Sounds familiar!

  2.    Mom/Mima on June 18, 2013 2:58 pm      Reply

    YAY RM
    They also ask questions that would be hurtful if they weren’t so darned honest
    Granddaughter 2 this weekend – Mima you have a snoogie in your nose – let me get it for you! (ahh 3 1/2 year olds are fun) or my favorite that has me moving more this week . .
    Granddaughter 2 – Is that your waist?
    Mima Yes . . .
    Granddaughter 2 It looks kind of ch….then stops
    Mima Chubby?
    Granddaughter 2 Yes
    Mima Hmmmm you are right. I better get to work on that.
    Reminded me of Thing 1 and “poodle ears”
    It’s a good thing we love them no matter what!

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