'But why Mummy, why?'

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3 under 3

Amy Condon is a mum to 3 kids, who are all under 3! Yes, you heard us right. Each week she tells us all about the ups and downs of bringing up 3 children so close in age in her mummy blog. This week Amy talks about the inquisitive nature of her little girl...

'It's a cliché, I know. Kids ask a lot of questions. When you find out you're pregnant, you prepare for it, imagine it, joke about it. You know what you're getting into. And trust me, the girls have done their fair share of questioning. I've fielded all manner of difficult enquiries.

‘How do babies get in your tummy?'
‘But why can't we have crisps for breakfast?'
‘What are those lines on your face, Mummy?'

But despite having given birth to 3 children within 2 years, it turns out, I hadn't see anything yet.

Over the past couple of weeks, I've developed an irrational fear that MI5 are going to come knocking on the door to conscript T into their ranks. No one could withstand her questioning. No one.
Before sitting down to write this, I decided to try and keep a rough tally of the number of times she said: ‘Why?' in one day. I'd lost count by about half past 10. She is relentless. Utterly unstoppable.

‘Why do I need to get dressed? Why are you tying my hair up? Why does the hungry caterpillar eat so many things? But why can't you do this jigsaw now, Mummy? Why?'

I'm not sure how much more I can take. It's constant.
In desperation, my husband tried turning the tables.

‘Why do you want to know that, sweetheart?' he asked, winking at me. ‘Why are you talking to us?'
T frowned her most severe frown.
'Why are you asking me why?' she replied. 'Why did you do that, Daddy?'
We can't win.

I know, children should be encouraged to question, to grow. Every night, when she's tucked up in bed, I am utterly overcome with love for my bright, beautiful little girl and her thirst for knowledge.

Unlike careful little G, who barely moves in her sleep, sharing her bed squarely down the middle, half for her, half for Mickey Mouse, T can always be found buried under the covers or hanging half out of bed, Charlie Chimp tucked under her arm or squashed up next to her head. When I go in to check the girls before I go to bed, my first duty is always to manoeuvre her back into place. As I rearrange her covers and push her hair out of her face, I am so grateful for her sharp mind and curious nature. What more can you ask for than a child who wants to learn and to grow? And I do my best. I start every day promising myself I'll calmly and thoughtfully answer every enquiry, that I'll nurture her hungry little brain and be proud of her inquisitive soul. By about half 9, my resolve is wavering. The sheer volume of questions over breakfast would test even the most stubborn politician. She questions everything.

‘Why did you give me Rice Krispies, Mummy?' she asked the other day.
‘You asked for them, honey,' I replied.
‘Yes,' she nodded, thinking for a moment. ‘I like them.'
I breathed a sigh of relief, until...
‘Why do they taste so nice, Mummy?'

Some days, I really do think it's going to break me. Not only do I have the questions, the never-ending questions, to deal with, I also have another cheeky 3-year-old and an unstoppable 18-month-old on my hands. I know that part of the problem is that T just wants attention, and for that I feel guilty. I know that some days, I don't give any of my girls all the time they need. I'm working on it. I'm making plans to give the twins some 1-on-1 time each with Mummy, and trying to make sure I limit the amount of times I say: ‘Just a minute,' or ‘You'll have to wait,' or ‘Mummy only has one set of hands!' Sometimes, they do need to wait, but I'm doing my best to give them all enough of me. Some days, this is harder than others.

I had an especially rough day this week. I'd had the girls to myself, and just hadn't been able to keep on top of the housework and their demands. When my husband came home with a bit of bad news, I felt suddenly exhausted and overcome. As T approached me, asking why I was sitting down or why the sky was blue, I can't even remember what, I couldn't stand it anymore.

The end of my tether barely visible in the distance behind me, I cracked.
‘Mummy just cannot answer any more questions, baby,' I begged. ‘Please, not now, baby. Please.'
T looked at me curiously. She frowned.
‘Why can you not answer any more questions, Mummy?'

I give up.'

Are your kids constantly asking why? Tell us about your experiences in our comments section below.

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Amy's other blog posts...

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