The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


The Philosophy of Bad Timing

My four-year old takes the Asking Endless Questions stage seriously.

Like a game show designed to torture multi-tasking mommies, he requires that I deliver a brief, yet definite answer to each question in less than five seconds. If I fail, I will be pelted with increasingly difficult questions faster than I can pant, “Please wait! I need time to think!”

Unfortunately, these aren’t the kind of questions that I can formulate short answers to in a matter of seconds. These are not questions like, “Why can’t I ride my bike now?” Or, “Is tomorrow a school day?” And, “Can I have a snack?”

Instead, I’m asked, “Why is this world here? Why?” and “What happens when people die? How do they die? How?  

These are the questions that make my head hurt.

He fires out test shots throughout the day to check if I’m paying attention.

At breakfast: “Who draws the cereal boxes? Who?”

While we’re trying to leave the house: “How do they color clothes, Mom?  How?”

As I clean up after our sick dog: “Why do dogs do poop all over the place? Why?”

try to focus, stay calm and show no external signs of panic or uncertainty.

But, he can sniff out less than fully present Mom faster than our dog can sniff out a treat. Catching me unaware, he pockets the test questions and pulls out the automatic questioning weapon. Then the bullets fly:

“How do our eyes see? How? Where do birds live? Where? Why are there so many strangers in this worldWhy? How do we make trees? How? Why are you a girl? Why, Mom? Why?”

Like the dictation tests I failed in college Spanish, each question whizzes by as I try, hopelessly, to catch just one.

“Why, Mom? Why?”

Please don’t smugly suggest, “Well, what do you think?” I’ve tried that. His response: Major eye rolling accompanied by a whiny, “Mom! I’m asking you!” Then he loudly repeats the question as if I might have a hearing problem.

Ditto for my favorite teacher response, “Hmmm… that’s an interesting question. How could we research the answer?”

He scolds, “Mom! Don’t say ‘interesting’! Don’t say that.” And then, agitated, he repeats the question.

I love his curious mind. Really, I do. It is adorable, challenging, funny…. just not when I’m cleaning up dog shit and vomit while the baby screams, the phone rings, we need to leave the house in the next five minutes, and I haven’t even brushed my teeth. 

So, recently, when my four-year-old and I had an hour alone together, I was ready to philosophize. Brain uncluttered. A good night’s sleep.  No interruptions. Out in our garden. What better time and place to have a meaningful conversation?

Hit me with your best questions, kid. I’m ready.

Apparently, the questioner was out to lunch. 

My son was content to swing his Spiderman action figure from bush to bush, occasionally calling, “Look, Mom!” to show off a new Spidey move. In that entire hour, he only asked one question. “Can I have a snack?” 

Why? Why?

By Maya Creedman

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So true....!
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