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7 difficult questions

 
Despite parents knowing the questions are unaswerable, they always answer them.
toy tyrannosaurus
Scott Dunlop

Pic: Shutterstock

It has been scientifically proven that the average 4-year-old asks up to 15 million questions per day. Ok, perhaps not proven, but that’s exactly how it feels. Many of these questions are repeated, ad infinitum, too, so there’s plenty of pressure to provide an answer, even if no answer actually exists. Somewhere, in the midst of imagination and nonsense, lies parenting... Here are just a few of the most ridiculous questions you too may face:

Is my goldfish going to hell?

Regardless of your religious beliefs, chances are, when finny ends up one morning being “floaty”, you may find yourself talking about how good he was while he was alive, and verbally imagining some kind of goldfish heaven. Unless you’re just a heartless shrug-and-flush parent.

Where’s his pants?

Cartoon characters tend to lack certain features (thank goodness). Like penises, bums, the correct amount of fingers and even pants. Sometimes they dress in drag, and sometimes even mice have human breasts. Unless you’re a professional animator, chances are you’ll have no idea about the missing or enhanced bits. Logic doesn’t help: “Well, that dog doesn’t wear pants, because dogs don’t” is easily countered with “yes, but that mouse does”. So the next option is to make up a story about a cartoon laundry thief, or a horrible industrial accident which lopped off a digit or two.

Why can’t I live on tomato sauce?

Lots of kids love tomato sauce. They’ll pour it on fish fingers, macaroni, chips, spaghetti- heck- even on beans already COVERED in tomato sauce. They’ll ask for it on bread, and treat it with the same enthusiasm early man must have had for mammoth meat. There’s actually no sensible answer here- just wait it out. One day, you’ll serve up their favourite food drowning in tomato sauce, and they’ll turn around and treat it as if they’ve always hated it: “Mom! You KNOW I don’t like tomato sauce”.

Can I have a pet Tyrannosaurus?


They have the rubber toy, but, even with the metallic recorded “ROOOOAR”, it’s not the same as the real thing. Be careful, though. Even though you may not ever have wanted a pet, especially when you have young kids, the “I want a pet dinosaur” demand may be met with a negotiated “you can have a... a... puppy!” That’s not a great response. The better response isn’t that they’re extinct, either. This leads to other questions such as “what colour were they?” and “were there any vegetarian ones?” A decent response is to make an adult-sized T-Rex costume, and stomp around the room, knocking over your child’s precious block towers, to prove the mayhem a real one would cause.

Is grandma going to die soon?

Hey! That’s our mom you’re talking about, and she’s only 60! The problem is, you can’t promise that even the sprightliest of grandparents is going to live forever. And what do concepts like “soon” and “forever” mean to someone who has only lived through four summers? Best way to handle this is to either change the subject- pretend you didn’t hear, and say, “No! Grandma hates DIY”, or politely explain that this sort of question will make grandma sad. Or spend hours talking about clouds, harps and angel wings.

Where do burgers come from?


If this is asked during a visit to the petting zoo, don’t point to a cow and say “there”. And definitely don’t point to that cluster of live chickens and go “Mmmm, finger-licking goodness!” This is a confusing one: Cows don’t willingly hand over disks of flesh, and there isn’t a farm with one-legged chickens who have donated a drumstick to the supermarket. Still, we have a responsibility to explain that burgers come from cows, and drumsticks from chickens. Best not to do it while there’s a real cow in the room- cows have feelings too, you know.

Why is that man asking for money?

We get lots of struggling people knocking on the door asking for money or food. The trick is to explain about “not everyone having food and money” before this happens, or you’ll be politely refusing the knocker in front of your kid who will then demand to know “is that a poor man?” Trying to explain the difference between someone who is just poor, and someone who is a raving, threatening lunatic off his head on drugs is tricky to do, especially in front of said lunatic.

There are plenty more difficult questions- how did I get in mommy’s tummy, why does wee not taste like lemonade, and many complex adult concepts and scientific musings which even grown-ups struggle to grasp.

Whether you use honesty, humour or wild imagination, you’d better get ready to answer the unanswerable...

What’s the craziest question you’ve ever had to answer?
 
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