Wednesday, June 25, 2008

WHY?

Such a tiny word. Only three little letters. But when uttered by your three-year old for the 50th time in a single hour, the word takes on a whole new dimension. It becomes a word that makes you realize the limits of your knowledge, a word that strikes fear in your heart as you realize that you've backed yourself into a corner of answers. And suddenly, in a moment of desperation, you say it. That phrase you swore you'd never tell your kids.

"Because I said so."

Or another favorite variation of mine: "Because that's the way God wanted it."

Ah, they roll off of the tongue so easily. Yes, I know, these are the parental version of "No comment" or pleading the 5th, the ultimate cop-out, but really, how do you explain clouds once you've gotten 15 "why's" into the explanation? How far do you go, explaining why your child can't have ice cream for dinner?

I know what you're thinking--distract him. Or that if I answer enough questions, he'll be satisfied. Or just say "I don't know" and move on. NOPE! Not my kiddo! When he gets on a roll with the Why's, nothing will distract him from his mission. If I tell him I don't know, he gets angry and just repeats the question until my brain explodes. Any distraction short of ice cream (and even that one has failed me) won't deter him from his line of questioning, and I really don't want to have a 300-pound child by the end of the summer, so I try to use that one sparingly.

I think he keeps asking because he knows he's testing me. He knows I don't have all the answers--he just wants to see how far I'll go with this ridiculous farce. He can feel my blood pressure rising as the why's keep rolling from his tongue. He's like a dog that can smell my fear and can't help but pounce upon the opportunity to enjoy the upper hand.

So, until this phase ends, I guess I'll have to resort to the tried-and-true answer from the ages. Like so many parents before me, I'll just have to keep that answer of last-resort in my arsenal. "Because I said so!"

Now, I'm off to the library to brush up on my science....

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