Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Questions My Kids Ask

Small children are natural scientists and are constantly exploring the world. This would all be a very good thing except for the part where they try to dissect what they find in their diaper and report back their findings in the form of "Mama! Corn!" or, when they get a little older, they discover the word "Why?" which is quickly followed by -- in order -- "Why not?" "How come?" "Didja ever wonder...?" and "What would happen if...?" and that usually is followed by a plaster cast or a lot of itching.

And, we're really trying - like really hard - to not employ the greatest, most fantastic Mom-phrase ever invented: The "Because I Said So..." But lately, our kids have been asking questions that are so perplexing we have to resist the urge to deploy the Said So Weapon,  Maude-face them and drink straight from the t-box spigot. We need a strategy -- and answers -- for when the whacktastic questions come.

And, because this is a group effort, we offer MommyLand approved answers that are easy to memorize and maybe will make your brain stop hurting:

Do dogs have chins?
Uuuuuh, no. Or, yes. Hidden under their little furry beards, the chin just sits there, waiting for the day when said dog acquires opposable thumbs so they can micheviously plot and stroke their beard like they're Ben Bernanke and contemplate just where they are going to pee in the house next. Which is why we make sure they never, ever acquire thumbs.

Why do leaves change color?
Leaves have this thing inside them called chlorophyll. Why do they have chlorophyll? Hmm, I'm pretty sure it has to do with photosynthesis. Why do they photo Cynthia's? No, photosynthesis. Why do they take pictures at all? No. They don't take pictures. It's not a photo. It's photosynthesis, which means-- Why does my belly button stick out? I don't know. Let's blame Cynthia

How far down does dirt go?
Well, let's see. We know it magically goes down into your underpants despite the fact that you're wearing pants, a tucked-in shirt and a jacket. We also know it goes down into your belly button so far that we're pretty sure we can grow turnips in your navel. It also goes remarkably deeper than the pot that holds my begonias would seem to indicate. I think you may have acquired Mary Poppins magic carpetbag and replaced lamps and birdcages with worms and even more dirt. Though, after inspecting your bathroom after your bath last Sunday, we do know the limits of dirt. It does NOT, in fact, go as far as down the drain.

What is color?
Well, it’s the way that light emits…that is, the human eye sees spectrums…[sigh] Here’s a cheesestick. Go watch TV. Someday TV will tell you what color is. Until then, it can just show it to you.

Where does the poop go?
Oh, there's this really disgusting creature that lives under all the toilets in the world and his job is to eat all the poop and he just grows and grows and eats more and more and some day he'll burst out from the ground like a big poopy volcano man and--no, I'm just kidding. It goes into the sewers and gets cleaned up somehow and sometimes they use poop -- not yours, maybe a cow's -- as fertilizer and farmers spread it on the ground where they grow crops like fruits and veg-CRAP! And this is why you'll never eat a never carrot or brussel sprout for the rest of your life.

What makes our car go?
Dad will tell you that it's gasoline and the combustible engine and stuff like that, but really it's the MasterCard.

Why doesn't China fall off?
Well, China is super heavy and has a lot of people on it, so that helps. But you might want to hang on to your hat, son. Our planet is actually kinda spinning around on it's side, so we're all a little tilty. And we're going super super fast, like daddy trying to drive to the Chik-Fil-A before it closes fast. 

And, if you want me to really rock your little world, technically we're the ones that are upside down and hanging onto the planet. Should I install a seat belt in your bed now? Just in case? OK Good night. Sweet dreams. Hold on tight.

How did our baby get here?
Daddy had four minutes to kill between innings.

Where do leaves go when they leave?
To Maui. Can I go with them?

GAH! [sigh] Because I said so...

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011


  1. My 3.5 year old is king of the questions. I can answer each one (even if its a made up answer. which lets face it, it oftentimes is) but each answer results in another question. It is never ending. I have resorted to "I dont know" because in all honesty, most of the time, I dont know the answer. He now regularly starts questions with "You dont know why it just started raining?" Makes my life easier...I get to say "nope" and it ends it :)

  2. OH, my favorite was, "What happens if I do?" This usually followed a warning to not do something, and then I'd have to (try) to scare him out of whatever it was... but he'd usually end up with the giggles instead. Good times.

  3. My daughters have started into the "How about . . ." phase of their lives. As in, I say, "No we can't go to the park today," and they say, "How about we clean our rooms without fighting and then we go to the park?"

  4. Our 7 year old daughter asked Daddy on the way to school recently, "Do turkeys sweat?" Where does she come up with these?

  5. "Do you think it's a bad idea to use a Time Machine _two days in a row_?"

    "Mama? What's a question?"

    "What day and month was the first day of Earth?"

    I feel like I've earned a fictitious PhD with all the answers I've invented.
    --kate in Michigan

  6. Monday my six year old's hockey practice was halted for a tornado warning. They made everyone pile into the cinder block locker rooms to wait it out. So my son asks "what makes a tornado? why do we have to stay in the locker rooms?" I knew we had a book at home to explain tornados, but I didn't really want to go into the "we are in a large metal building with a thin roof that will peel off like an apple sauce cup foil cover if a tornado hits" in front of other kids. So this time I knew the answer, I just couldn't tell him in present company. Mommies just can't catch a break!

  7. My favorite all always the God questions... What kind of dog does God have? What does God eat? and my favorite one are God and Santa best friends? Very fun!!!!

  8. My 3.5 year old asks "But how?" instead of just "why?" It does get just as endless as the why does though, so no real break even though he uses different words LOL. I really loved the What is color example...I see this happening in my future very soon.

  9. The most maddening for me are the questions where they ask me to define something, like "what does frustrated mean?" and then when I answer they ask me what another word I used in the definition means, and so on and so on. It could go on forever, and by the end, even I don't think I know what "frustrated" means.
    Sometimes I just announce, "Ok, question time is over, now it's time to be quiet for a while" :)

  10. "Daddy had four minutes to kill between innings."
    I think that's the best answer I've ever heard.

  11. My youngest caught a duck one day. That in itself is another story. My middle daughter loves roasted duck. It's her favorite dinner. As I was telling my husband aobut a 2 year old catching a duck in a parking lot, my 5 year old asked me if I had brought it home for dinner... Oy.

  12. I happened to get off quite easy on the baby sister question. My oldest (3 at the time) asks "how did sissy get in there?" I thought for a few seconds and said "daddy put her there" she looked at me and said "oh, that's cool". End discussion, never asked or questioned it again. I realize getting off easy on that one only created a much harder time for a different question in the unforseeable future. But hey, I'll take it!

  13. Yeah, I made the mistake a few years ago of telling my kids "I'm the Mama, I know everything." There's a t-box spigot moment just waiting to happen. Now they're 7 and almost 6 and the split second I get a blank look on my face after hearing "Mama why does blah blah blah" I get "But you're the Mama, you know everything". I know I'm going back to Target, you beautiful little hostiles.

  14. My Son is almost 2 and only knows like 4 words and 2 of them are "no" and "why". Its good times over here!

  15. "Four minutes to kill..." Awesome.

    A child who is not mine noticed I had a newborn and and 9 month old. He asked, "Why do you have two babies?"
    "Because I don't pay attention to instructions."

  16. Daddy once came up with this AWESOME answer involving a wizard and a lonely deserted tower...unfortunately, the kids remember EVERY DETAIL and now ask questions about the wizard.

  17. I've resorted to the canned answer, "You'll know when you're older!" Especially when my 7 year old son starts asking too many questions about how babies get in the mommy's belly. "You'll know when you're older!" To which he replied, "No I won't! I'll never know!!"

  18. My 8 year old is a non-stop question factory. However, he wants to know how electricty works, how to split an atom, why does it look like you are moving slow when you look ahead in the car, but if you look out the side, it looks like you are moving faster, and what's an "angle". *sigh*

  19. My favorite actually came from a friend of mine. Her son recently looked at her and said "if people get sick from a virus, and computers can get sick and break from a computer virus, if Optimus Prime gets sick, is it a virus or a computer virus?". I thought this was the funniest question!

  20. My favorite was from my then 3-year-old:

    "Mommy, does God wear underwear?"

  21. While getting dressed the other morning, my 2 year old asked, "Mom, did you put on a proper bra?". Exactly what is THAT supposed to mean?

  22. My son (who is only 8 months) will eventually know way more than he wants to for the "where does the poop go?" question since Daddy sells massive industrial sewer cleaning equipment. When that question arrives I will happily place him in Daddy's lap, saunter out of the house and drive to Target to replenish the T-box supply!

  23. I'm a little worried, because my almost 4-year old daughter doesn't really ask questions as much as she endlessly yammers about anything and everything. And if I don't respond to her and acknowledge what she says, she will repeat and repeat until I do. So I lapse into a coma, muttering "yes, yes, yes." Today she was yammering away and said "and the cars always stop for us when we cross the road." "Yes, yes, WAIT, NO they don't always stop..." Which turns into a 5 minute lecture. Ugh.

  24. Princess Pudgy-Wiggle, age 5: "Mommy, do animals go to heaven when they die?"
    Mommy (thinking this is STILL about the cat, who died two years ago, will the crying NEVER END?): "Some people think they do, some don't. I don't really have an opinion yet. Why do you want to know?"
    PPW: "Well, cows make milk, right?"
    Mommy (WHUCK?): "Um, yeah."
    PPW: "And you need milk to make cheese, right?"
    Mommy (I have NO idea where this might be leading now, but am grateful that education ala Sesame Street seems to be sticking): "Um, yeah."
    PPW (BIIIIG sigh, kinda panicky look on her face): "Well, if animals don't go to heaven, then cows don't go to heaven, and if there's no cows then there's no milk, and if there's no milk then there's no CHEESE in heaven!"
    Mommy (feeling like THIS one I can handle... WHEW): "Well baby, when we get to heaven we'll have new bodies and there will be no sickness and no sin and no crying and we'll get to spend forever with God! So even if there's no cheese, we won't really care because we won't need it anyway! Isn't that great?!"
    PPW (bug-eyed and about to have a meltdown, because I have CLEARLY just confirmed her WORST FEARS): "BUT I LIKE GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES!!!! GAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

    ...and she stormed off to her room for a good cry. She's 20 now and seems to have forgiven God for the potential future in heaven without grilled cheese sandwiches, I'm happy to report. But the logic on that child was frightening, it was like raising a little lawyer. WHEW.

  25. Love "No cheese in Heaven" !!! Nicole, if you aren't already blogging... you have a great name for your blog!!

  26. Whenever I get tired of the questions, I just say "I don't know, I'm not a [insert subject matter here]."
    As in "Mom, why do bees like flowers? What is nectar? What do the bees do with it? Why?" and then I finally say "I don't know, I'm not a bee."
    and then I go hide in my closet for five minutes of peace.
    I had to start doing this when "Because that's the way God made it." quit working.

  27. I've got a son/Jedi that remembers the answer to every question as THE correct answer, so you have one chance to make sure it's good because that is the answer that is locked in for life. When he was 3 he asked the famous where does the pee/poo go when we flush question. My husband, a DIE HARD University of Michigan Alum, answered him...the pee goes to South Bend, IN and the poop goes to Columbus, OH. My son is 9 and will still tell people that answer (although now he does know it's a good joke!)

  28. My DH and I are both engineers, so we often know "why" in way too much detail for a 3 year old. So she has resorted to "what's that?" in excruciating detail, as in what is that screw that holds the striker plate on the door knob and is there a difference between the top and bottom one. When I say "I don't know", she replies, "I think you do know", at which point I just have to change the subject.

  29. I always thought the questions were tough, but then i hit the statements. After starting to have the puberty talk with my then 9 year old.(one of her classmates had already started her period) My fabulous girl told me that since she was too nervous to use a tampon, I could put it in for her.....WHUCK??? Like that is supposed to be an honor?

  30. Here are the ones I got over the past few days:

    Why is it called a floor?
    Why is that way called left and that way called right?
    Why does diary sound like diarrhea?
    What is a company?
    When answered, he said: Why is it called a company?
    And the ever relentless: Why is her name or his name x? Answer: Because her or his mommy named her that. Follow up question: Well why did she like that name?




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