I'm now raising our fourth toddler who has entered the 'why?' phase. I remember when my firstborn began asking 'why?' and I basked in the sunshine of his burgeoning intellect. I answered his questions endlessly and delighted in the rabbit trails of our resulting conversations.
Now there are four children talking at me and over each other at once while the baby is screaming in the background, so my patience runs thin sooner when answering 'why?' questions. Such is the lot of #4.
My curly-haired, two-and-a-half-year-old Joseph asks me 'why?' over and over and over, and I never do reach an end when he's actually satisfied with my answers. This week, I began to answer however I wanted, not to thwart the darling boy, but to relieve my own irritation and give myself a good giggle.
Following is an amalgam of conversations as an example of my new tactic:
"Oh look, this book is torn."
"I don't know, someone must have been too rough with it."
"Why why someone rough with it?"
"I wasn't there; maybe somebody is still learning how to be gentle with books."
"Why are they still learning?"
"Because children who are young still have a lot to learn. Right now, we're going to walk downstairs so John and Mary can learn their music at Mr. Jones' house."
"Why are we going downstairs?"
"Because our van is downstairs, so that is where we have to go in order to go to music lessons."
"Why do we have to go to music lessons?"
"Because squirrels fly at midnight."
"Why do they fly at midnight?"
"Because of red."
"Because snorting is loud."
"Why is snorting loud?"
Don't worry, no curious preschoolers' developing brains were harmed in the making of these humorous moments for One Fatigued Mama. Joseph is still asking 'why?' all day long but Mama is laughing a bit more light-heartedly.