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Why Won't My Kid Stop Asking 'Why'? Why?!!!

Photograph by Twenty20

My family is blessed with a creative, bright, inquisitive four-year-old. But the day he asked me why Mama makes babies in her tummy, I knew I was screwed.

It started as a harmless phase. He wanted to know why the sky was blue, why dinosaurs don't live here anymore and why his friends can't come over to play every single day. Then the constant questions elevated to an incessant prodding. "Why is this sign pointing over there?" "Why is that car blue?" "Why do my shoes have laces?"

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He asks about every single thing from sunup to sundown. Public places are a special sort of agony, as every personal difference is open for discussion in his mind. He'll ask why people have moles on their faces, why women have mustaches, and why little people are so dang adorable. True story: we once ran into a little person at the water park and he wanted to know why he couldn't put this "teeny tiny man" in his pocket to go show Santa Claus. This intensely loud questioning was complete with hand gestures indicating how he would pluck this individual up and tote him off to the North Pole.

I will never fully recover from that experience.

Why Mama grows babies in her tummy, though, that was the cherry on top of a very large sundae.

He especially likes to start in when I'm driving. Siri is a mystery to us both, obviously, and he likes to ask why the computer doesn't say our street name correctly. The worst is when my detail-oriented child sees something that I miss. "Why was that man doing that thing over there?" I have no idea what man he's referring to or what activity was just occurring.

Anytime I'm focused on an important phone call is also fair game—prime time, even— for deep questions like why chickens have feathers or the reasoning behind avocados having a pit.

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Why Mama grows babies in her tummy, though, that was the cherry on top of a very large sundae. I tried going the theological route, explaining that God daintily places infants in bellies for gestation. Anytime I can't answer something, God plays eager scapegoat. That wasn't enough. He wanted to know why God would do such a thing! God is obviously a very lonely being to continue growing a herd of people, and why might God need SO many friends?

That's it, I give up. The point at which parenting requires a degree in philosophy is when I toss in the towel and finally admit it: I don't know the answer to the "why" question. So let's just all move on, shall we?

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