Next He’ll Want To Know If We’re There Yet

Yesterday, I was working on some life-skills with Little Evan. Doesn’t that sound fancy? Life-skills. What I really mean is I was teaching him how to use the Keurig to make Mommy a cup of coffee. Obviously he can’t do it on his own – he’s always trying to make me drink tea instead and he can’t even reach the counter – but he loves to switch out the K-cup and push the button. And I dare you to tell me making coffee isn’t an absolutely necessary skill, especially if he takes after me and gets an Underwater Basket Weaving Liberal Arts degree.

As we waited the 20 seconds for my mug to fill with the delicious, life-giving nectar of the gods that is Newman’s Own Organic Dark Roast, Little Evan reached his fingers right towards the stream of hot coffee.

“Oh no!” I said, pulling him away, “That’s hot! Danger! Don’t touch!”

“Why?” he asked.

“Because hot things can burn you and that would hurt your fingers,” I explained.

“Oh ok mama. I won’t touch the coffee,” he said. And we both enjoyed a quiet moment of understanding and an important lesson learned.


“WHY?” he asked again. “WHY? WHY? WHY?”

“Because if you got hurt you’d be sad and that makes me sad.”


“Because when you’re sad you cry and I don’t like crying babies.”


“Because it hurts my head and there aren’t any circuses in town I can sell you to right now.”


“Well, they probably heard I was trying to unload one majorly whiny toddler and they didn’t want to risk getting stuck with you.”


After about thirty seconds I resorted to something I used to swear would never cross my lips: “BECAUSE I’M YOUR MOTHER AND I SAID SO.”

Other variations: “Because I am the boss of you!” “Because Mommy is in charge!” “Because Daddy will be mad when I tell him!” and “Because God doesn’t like it when you ask questions.” Yeah, I might be going to hell. Also, it didn’t work.

He asked “WHY?” approximately 40 bazillion more times over the next 8 hours, although it felt more like 8 days. WHY do I need to stop kicking my sister? WHY do I need to eat something besides Fritos for lunch? WHY shouldn’t I punch Mommy in the face? WHY can’t you hold me while you cook dinner? WHY WHY WHY?

How is it possible that my toddler has learned this word already? And how long do you think it will take before it drives me to drink?

(Non-surprising answer: negative two hours.)

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12 Responses to “Next He’ll Want To Know If We’re There Yet”

  1. Amanda says:

    It never ever stops. I had to have a conversation about evolution and Darwinism in the car the other day with my 4 year old. It NEVER stops. On the other side though coffee making skills are very important. Maddie LOVES making us coffee in the morning with the Keurig.

  2. Swistle says:

    “Doesn’t that sound fancy? Life-skills. What I really mean is I was teaching him how to use the Keurig to make Mommy a cup of coffee.” HA HA HA!!

    I find I can go about three rounds before I pull out “All right, that’s enough, I have already explained this completely, no more questions now.” Well, or “Hey, do you want a SNACK?”

  3. Ally says:

    LOL “Because things that are NOT cannot BE!” – Louis C.K.

  4. StraderSpiel says:

    The magic way to answer all why questions: Why do you think it’s that way? Not only does this stop the whys it also leads to some great conversations.

  5. Colleen says:

    My favorite response to “Why” when I feel I have thoroughly answered their questions is to respond with “Why not” every time they ask “Why.” It works pretty well.

  6. Abby says:

    Ahhh, I feel your pain. My 5 year old has recently begun asking such deep, philosophical questions that I have a constant headache from thinking about the answers. “Are we still people in heaven? Like, REAL people, with arms and faces?” “When you are dead in the ground can you still open your eyes since you are still alive in heaven?” “Does God give you time outs when you misbehave” And so on and so forth. And my two year old has taken to walking around the house pointing at stuff and asking questions. “What’s this” Ummm, it’s a chair. “Why it’s a chair?” Jeez, because…it just IS, okay. I need a drink.

  7. Audrey says:

    We haven’t gotten the ‘why’ questions yet. I wonder if it’s because we already explain everything…probably more than is necessary. Our kid is more likely to start saying “Okay, okay, I get it!” :D

  8. raincheckmom says:

    You should answer once and then ask HIM about something.

    That will work. Why? Because I’m your mother and I said so….

  9. Krista T says:

    I do things that are memorable. “Why don’t we touch the stove?” Well…let’s get your little fingers close (while I hold them so she doesn’t accidentally wiggle and burn herself!) Oh, see, NOW you KNOW what “hot” means. That’s why.

    “Why don’t we *insert verb here* the dog/cat? I have always consistently done to her what she did to them. Pulled fur? Pulled hair. Picked up and walked three feet? The same – upside down, squeezed too tightly, suddenly/without warning. A startling and (while not PAINFUL) uncomfortable experience.

    “Why don’t we stand in the bathtub?” I wait for her to stand when I’ve told her a zillion times not to, then when she falls and cries, I tell her, THAT’S why I tell you not to stand.

    In general, I use tactile ways to SHOW her why, frequently before she asks, and in ways that are uncomfortable and MEMORABLE. Yesterday, I had to explain in great detail why she shouldn’t run down our friend’s 30-degree-sloped driveway – Because you’ll scrape your toes, then your ankles, then your knees, then your hands and elbows, and then your entire FACE is going to smash into the concrete. That doesn’t sound like fun? Well, then I guess you’d better run down on the GRASS (next to the driveway) instead. *smug smirk on my face as she looks stricken – and then turns around and runs down the grass!*

    Disclaimer on this advice: I have a GIRL. I know boys are totally different, and my girl is sensitive to these teaching methods, while I know some boys would laugh and do it more for the attention. But it’s worth putting out there that you could try it once or twice. Lol!!!

  10. Brigid Keely says:

    Niko hasn’t started the Cascade Of Whys yet. Huzzah?

  11. Rachel says:

    Gah. Kids are so selfish. And needy.

    I like to turn it around on my kids and ask, “Why do YOU think?” I keep doing that until they cry that their heads hurt. Welcome to my world, kids! Who has the power now?

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