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Monday, June 9, 2008

Why, why, WHY???

The Mad Hatter has always been a very inquisitive little girl, so interested in every little bit of the world around her. We've been more than thrilled to help feed her little mind with as much knowledge and interest as she'll take, and then some.

However, up until a little over a month ago, Hubby and I were actually (and maybe slightly smugly, or now as I like to think, foolishly) thinking we had bypassed the "why" phase.

We were wrong. It happened, and it happened literally overnight.

One morning I am putting my makeup on, something MH has seen me do a million times over. In fact, I often hand her a brush and an empty bottle so she can do her makeup too. On this particular day, MH comes in and asks what I'm doing. Although I know she knows the answer, I figure I'll play along. I contemplate explaining how lucky she is not to have permanent dark circles under her eyes, but instead choose something simpler - Mommy is putting on her makeup, just like she does every day!

Her response? Oh. (pause) Why?

And so began our life with this word we have learned to absolutely abhore. It punctuates nearly every sentence out of MH's mouth. She asks a question, we give an answer. And it never fails that our answer is followed by that wonderful word. Sometimes we think we've avoided it. I'm just about to give myself a secret high-five, and there it is . . . again.

Some examples:

(As we are leaving a birthday party the other day and walking down the street to where our car is parked).
MH: that's not our car!
Mommy: nope, it's not!
MH: Why isn't that our car?
Mommy: silly MH, you know that's not our car - it's not our car, because, well, it isn't.
MH: but why?
Mommy: ummm, because other people drive cars too.

This went on for about 3 cars worth of questioning, and thankfully she finally spotted our car and moved on with excited chatter about that.

Here's another:

Mommy: MH, go get your shoes on! We're going to be late for art class!
MH: Why do I have to put my shoes on?
Mommy: because, we can't go barefoot to art class, silly!
MH: oh . . . why are we going to art class?
Mommy: because we go to art class every week - you love it, aren't you excited to see your friends and make some new projects?
MH: Why are we going to make some new projects?

Every answer I give prompts yet another new why.

And one more:

MH: DADDY! Daddy, where are you?
Mommy: Daddy left for work, you just gave him a hug and kiss goodbye and told him to have a good day.
MH: Why did Daddy go to work?
Mommy: you know the answer to that - daddy works hard so we can have a nice house, and food, and clothes (we talk about this all the time).
MH: Oh. Why do we need to have clothes?

Maybe she's onto something. With the recent spike in temperature and humidity I find myself wondering the same thing.

But I digress.

I could go on. The word why is so much a part of my daily conversation that I struggle to think of a time when I don't have to come up with SOME sort of explanation for whatever we're discussing. The girl has why's for things I didn't know had answers.

And the worst part? We'll have an entire conversation (complete with why and explanation of why) and she'll ask the entire why question all over again!

I used to fall for it every time. But this Mommy can't be manipulated so easily - I caught on pretty quickly and came up with a great tactic - switch it back and ask her why. And why, and why? I sing songs about why. I tickle her and change the subject. But she seems to see right through me and sadly, my cynicism is usually lost on her. Occasionally, she gets the humor and laughs hysterically. And in those cases, which are rare, why can be fun.

Daddy has come up with a great answer to the never ending question: Because I love you. I'm not sure why, but when he says it, she seems to accept it as the perfect answer and move on. Tonight they were standing on our deck together and she asked why our neighbor was swimming in her pool. Daddy's answer? Because she loves you. End of conversation, on to something new.

She doesn't let me off the hook so easily.

So I guess for now, I will continue to be stuck rotating in our WHY orbit, waiting in indescribeable anticipation of the day we move onto another fixation.

But I do have a question.

How come when the MH misbehaves or does something that leads me to ask her "MH, why did you do that" she finds it perfectly acceptable to respond with a simple "Because I did."? And when I continue to incessantly badger her with the same question (it's only fair, right?), expecting a reasonable explanation (or at least some response), she continues to give me the same answer, or even worse, moves on to something more important than me or the question at hand.

Once again, I am reminded on a daily basis that while Daddy and I like to think that we're running the show around here, MH is busy setting plenty of her own rules, and we have no choice but to indulge her. After all, she is 3, and this is part of growing, right?

But WHYYYYYYYY?

4 Fabulous Replies:

debbie said...

But why Mom???? I ask myself that each day.... WHY????? I like Daddy's answer. Think I'll try it tomorrow.

Melissa said...

Ugh! SO not looking forward to WHY! I know it will happen one of these days, so I will enjoy every day between now and then!

Shannon said...

Ha! I'm right there with you sister!

Jayme said...

My sitter calls Klara her little journalist b/c of all the questions. Drives me batty! But this too shall pass (quickly I hope!).