Why, You Ask?

I know I’ve written a post about Jack asking “Why?” and how it gets difficult to continue explaining things after a certain number of whys.  But lately it’s just getting annoying.  I don’t mind explaining something to either Jack or Casey.  However, their use of “Why?” has nothing to do with trying to figure out how the world works anymore.  It is now something they say almost every single time I tell them something.  Jack is even starting to say it before I finish the sentence I’m speaking.  But the most annoying time is when I tell them something that includes the why.

Me:  We’re putting the dishes away because they’re all clean.
Casey:  Why?
Me:  I just told you why.
Casey:  Oh.  But why?
Me:  Are you listening to me?
Casey:  Yes.
Me:  What did I just say?
Casey:  I don’t know.
Me:  Why don’t you know?
Casey:  Because.

And you can see how this conversation goes nowhere.  I guess it’s even more frustrating when I decide to turn it around on Casey and ask her why she did something.  She shrugs her shoulders and says she doesn’t know 99% of the time.

I think we’re in a little bit of a language rut around here.  I feel like I keep saying the same things over and over again and never quite getting the response I’d like.  I keep asking the kids, “Did you hear what I just said?…Then why didn’t you do it?”  Half the time when I say something to Casey, she says, “Huh?” I repeat myself and she says, “Huh?”  About halfway through the third time I’m repeating myself,  I’ll stop and say, “Did you hear me?”  I know sometimes that I do not speak as loudly as I need to.  Part of it is that I’ve always been like that (mumbling as my mother would say) and the other half is that I feel like I’m answering the most pointless questions and I just don’t give it the energy that I should.  Other times I know that I’m speaking loudly and she has just developed this habit of saying, “Huh?”  Then I realized that I’ve done this myself.  When I was in high school and college and I worked at the family restaurant, my friend Elaine started calling me on it.  I would hear what she said to me but I guess in order to give myself a few more seconds to process it, I would say “Huh?” and she would repeat it.

I always thought that I spoke pretty well, but the kids seem to catch on to certain poorer parts of my speech and mannerisms and now I feel like I’m constantly trying to improve myself.  I try not to say “like” and I try not to say “Uhhh…” or “Well….” before every question I answer.  Sometimes I just need a few seconds to come up with a good answer for the 3 and 4 year old crowd and those words give me a little thinking time.  And of course I’m trying not to say, “Huh?” while also trying not to let Casey say it three times in a row.

Certainly this kind of self-improvement is something I never expected to be inspired by motherhood.  But 95% of the time I’m speaking to a 3 and 4 year old audience and they are really soaking up everything I say and how I say it so I think it’s important to try to say it right.