I am a mother of two young children. This means that many, er, unusual things happen in my home on a daily basis. Kids don’t really understand the consequences of their actions. Plus, they like to experiment. As a result, it’s not unheard of for them to use all of the vanilla in the name of ‘science’, draw on the walls or throw every. single. towel. into a bathtub full of water. They break things. They create laundry like nobody’s business. They make epic messes and waste toilet paper and eat butter straight from the butter dish. They do these things because they’re kids, and it’s what kids do.
Hannah’s trying to come up with a response to a question with no good answer
When my kids do things that most adults would consider irritating, I try to keep my cool as best I can. I don’t always succeed, but I try. In seven-and-a-half years of parenting I’ve found that yelling really doesn’t get anyone anywhere, although sometimes it does feel kind of satisfying in the moment. But that doesn’t mean that I’ve mastered the art of responding perfectly in every situation, drawing from my extensive box of effective parenting tools. Far from it. Like every parent, I often flail. I frequently don’t know what I’m doing. And when I find myself staring down yet another epic mess, I start asking questions with no answers.
If you’re a parent, you know that there’s no good reason for why kids do the things they do. They do these things because they’re not thinking about reasons. They don’t flush a toy down the toilet because they’ve thought the whole thing through fully. And yet, I often find myself asking them for an explanation, because somewhere in my adult brain I’m looking for an answer. I want to know why. Why my carpets were ruined. Why the sugar is all over my kitchen floor. Why there are two naked children running wild in my living room. And perhaps, underlying all of it, why this is happening to me.
Jacob loves to climb up there, but he can’t get back down
There are no good answers, of course. No good answers at all. And yet, I ask the question. Something inside compels me. Here are a few questions with no real answers I’ve asked recently:
- Why is there a crayon in your milk?
- Why did you give Cookie Monster a haircut?
- Why didn’t you put that toy away when you were finished playing with it? If you had, you’d be able to find it now. (This gets bonus points as a lecture masquerading as a question.)
- Why did you take just one bite out of four different apples?
- Why did you climb up there again, when you know you can’t get down?
- Why is there a car in my shoe?
- Why is there cat food all over the kitchen floor?
- If you didn’t want your toy to be broken, why did you throw it down the stairs?
- Why didn’t you come and get me, if you wanted to put on nail polish?
- Why is there peanut butter on the carpet?
I could do on all day. All day. If you have kids, I bet you could, too. So tell me – do you find yourself asking questions with no good answers? Please share!