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Is it wrong to dodge your kid’s questions?

Erin Zammett Ruddy

Alex was born with a super-sized level of curiosity. I love that about him but sometimes the endless interrogations get a little exhausting. Not to mention his Qs aren’t always easy to A. Here’s an example (this all came out of his mouth in the car on Sunday):


Mom, why does the Grinch hate Christmas?

Do all people go to heaven?

Where do new people come from?

How come we only have four people in our family?

Is that where dead people go? (passing a cemetery)

What’s the fire department’s phone number?

Do you remember that’s where we got our Christmas tree? (passing the fire station)

Can we go to Jackson’s house and I can skateboard and see if I’m good at it?

Is 52 degrees hot?

What do purple and green make when you mix them together?

If I kiss you on the lips does that mean we’re married?

Will someone take me to the person I marry like Rory took daddy to you? (Rory is Nick’s friend who introduced us)

What does adopt mean?

Is sausage a healthy food?

How many cars are there in the world?

Is the color yellow everywhere in the world?

Can I be an Indian when I grow up?



This is not an exaggeration, I swear. One car ride. And not a very long one. I had to call Nick and ask him if he’d given Al a Redbull for breakfast. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love his curiosity and I love chatting with him in the car (it’s why I’ll never have a DVD player in there), but sometimes it gets intense. And sometimes I need to pay attention to the road, which isn’t easy when you’re trying to figure out what the hell purple and green make. Fortunately Alex operates a mile a minute so if I don’t get an answer out quickly enough, he will usually move on to another topic. But he always comes back to the stuff he’s most interested in.


Death, marriage and where babies come from are a recurring theme in his questioning of late and, of course, the toughest topics to tackle. I always address that stuff (sometimes with a bit of bobbing and weaving), but the small stuff, like whether he can be an Indian and where fruit roll ups come from, I occasionally let hang in the air until they vanish. Is that so bad? What kind of things do your kids ask? Do you feel the need to answer every single question every single day? Do you ever say, “We’ll have to look it up”—and then, um, forget?