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sunday, july 29, 2001
but whyeeeee?

nearly all little kids go through a "why?" stage when they are little. why is the grass green? why doe the clouds get gray? why is that color red? in a way this has to be one of the most annoying stages for most parents. why is the sky blue? because the air makes it blue? but why? i don't know, honey, just something about what the air does to the sky? but why? (desperation sinks in) because god made it that way. but, why? i don't know, he just did. but... i think you get the picture. every answer is responded to with 'why?' or 'but why?' until the poor parent finds a way to get said child to stop. this is not relief you know. once the why's on the sky are finished, the child pauses, sees a single blade of grass and asks, "mommy, why is grass green?" even if you know about chloroform and all that other greenery stuff, they find a way around such scientific knowledge or just question the very nature of science itself. my understanding is that it can be a very exhausting process.

that's right. after four of the little things i have yet to pass through the toddler why stage. oh, there was the occasional why question, but my kids all seemed pretty content with my answers and never bedeviled me with more why's. our toddler years were spent with other things that i probably received in spades as punishment for bypassing the why stage, but they were worth bypassing that particular parent torture dreamed up all little ones everywhere.

until now that is...

we are going through an entirely different kind of why stage that has saxy and i ready to move out. this is the whiny, teenage, "but (insert nasal whiny tone here) whyeeeeeeeeeee?" it is the response to any answer they get that is not what they want to hear. and, just like the toddlers from whom they got the idea, a reasonable answer does not suffice.

typical conversation:

saxy: phoenixcat, we've told you not to play with the kids in this neighborhood. we do not feel it is appropriate or safe.

phoenixcat: but, but, uh, whyeeeeee?

mother: their parents do drugs and most of the time they are mean to you. we don't want you to get caught up in anything that could get you in trouble and you don't need the bad influences. (see, being very logical...a 14 year old should be able to understand this)

phoenixcat: but, but, but why can't i just talk to them!

saxy (losing patience): we explained that! we don't want you to have anything do with them!

phoenixcat: uh, uh, uh, but all i was doing was talking, why....

mother (realizing saxy is losing patience): phoenixcat, we have explained this to you repeatedly. you are not to associate or talk to the kids on this street. (wondering how a child who can understand the 'associate' can not understand the reasonable, calm explanations we have just given her).

phoenixcat: but..but..whyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee???!!!

from there it just degenerates into tears and all kinds of problems, ending with stomping and door slamming.

this morning i was blessed with a why conversation between saxy and jewel. apparently between church and phoenixcat's friend coming over she wanted to do every under the sun. saxy was trying to give her reasonable explanations and her response? but whyeeeeeeeeeee?

its contagious. and they never learn from the previous teenager that it doesn't work and only manages to irritate.

so now i am going through a whole new breed of the 'but why' stage with two teen girls.

but whyeeeeeeeeeeee?

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