Pull up a chair, I am about to impart the best parenting advice I can give you. Even better than “never sit on a toilet seat in the dark”.
Forget “sleep when the baby sleeps” or “enjoy it while they’re young, they grow up so fast.” And don’t even try to tell me “buy the off brand cereal, they’ll never notice.” No, my friend, the best advice I can offer after some twelve years in the parenting trenches is a simple phrase. If committed to memory, these three words will get you out of most, if not all situations requiring answers you do not have.
Sometimes you don’t have wifi, sometimes your device isn’t handy, and sometimes you just don’t want to exert the effort because thinking hurts your brain. There’s no judgement here. The questions might be too complex, or illogical, or ridiculous (please see previous about brains hurting). That’s when this handy phrase is your best friend.
A word of caution: use this in any situation, but pace yourself. If your children hear it in too quick a succession they might retort with “stop saying that and just tell me the answer!” in which case you have to pull out the big guns. Yes, you might need to tell them to “save that question for when you get to heaven.” It is question kryptonite, so use it carefully.
Alright, enough preamble. The most important phrase you should commit to memory is…
“I know, right?”
Skeptics might doubt me, but years fielding questions from hundreds of young students and my own four offspring provide enough anecdotal evidence (plus my twitter friends agree with me). What more data do you need? None. Just trust me. Below I have listed just a small selection of questions that I have answered with a sympathetic, “I know, right?” ALL QUESTIONS WERE SHUT DOWN.
What if your hand was just made out of the foam fingers and you had to switch every time for different numbers?
Why do you have so many pillows on your bed that you don’t use?
Why do extra boogers fall down into your mouth?
Why are light sabres so hot?”
How do they build buildings that are taller than the builder?
How does the microwave make things hot?
Why is honey sticky?
Why do stores have those restaurants in them? Like you buy lumber and a sandwich?
How can we stand on the earth when it’s round?
If cucumber is a fruit, why isn’t there cucumber pie?
How did they make the very FIRST ruler and make IT straight?
When something new is made it takes up space so the sky should get smaller, but it doesn’t. Why?
Why are tongues wet?
Why is it Saturday?
How do people that don’t have the same eye colour know that they’re really seeing the same colour?
Why do spiders go in the water if they can’t even survive?
Why is our van so dirty (I feel like this one is obvious)
Why do moms like coffee?
Why do moms like wine?
If used effectively this response can get you out of almost any situation. I have even applied it to the trickiest question of all:
Where did all the jujubes go? I was saving them.
I know, right?