1756 questions a day: What's a mum to do?

Frustrated mum Angela Cuming decided to count just how many questions her curious toddler asked her in one day.
Frustrated mum Angela Cuming decided to count just how many questions her curious toddler asked her in one day.  Photo: Supplied

 There was a time when I thought that waterboarding was the most serious torture threat facing civilisation.

Then my toddler started asking me questions. Lots of them. So many that I thought it would be a bit of fun to buy a counter like nightclub bouncers use and tally up exactly how many questions he asked me in one day. The answer shocked me – 1756.

From 7am to 7pm he asked 146 questions an hour, or more than two questions a minute. 

This, I thought to myself, is the reason why kids get accidentally left in car yards because their mum or dad has forgotten they are in the back seat. It's because our brains are reduced to absolute mush by lunchtime from answering so many questions.

I am sure my Charlie, who has just turned three, doesn't think anything much about asking so many questions. He's got a curious mind and a vocabulary to match many adults and the only thing he loves more than his toy tractors is books about real tractors.

But his questions are unrelenting and, call me a bad parent, but by the end of the day, they are driving me absolutely bloody crazy.

I started my counting experiment when Charlie woke up. Soon my counter could barely keep up. 

"Is the sun waking up, Mama? Is the sun waking up, Mama? Has the moon gone to bed? Is the sun awake? Where is the moon? Can I have choccy toast? Can I have three pieces of choccy toast? Is the sun waking up? Where is the sun, Mama?"

I fancied the total number to be somewhere in the three figures, maybe nudging three or four hundred. It hit that Key Performance Index by 9.27am.

Sometimes Charlie wouldn't give me time to offer up an answer before he moves on the next question, his train of thought racing ahead of the words tumbling out of his mouth.

I swear half the time he is winding me up, a cheeky grin breaking out on his chocolate-smeared face as he asks, "Am I a toy tractor, Mama?" 15 times in a row.

Charlie's one of three boys, he has identical twin baby brothers, and I am at home with them six days a week. That's a lot of time to ask a lot of questions, and jokes aside, it can get a bit overwhelming at times.

When you are knee-deep in dirty laundry and dirty nappies and have two screaming, teething babies and the cat's just thrown up on the carpet and it's raining so you can't even shove anyone or anything outside, a constant stream of toddler questions can get to be a bit too much.

There have been times, I am ashamed to admit, that I've asked Charlie to please be quiet and sit still like a good boy or given a grunt or a "ah hum" as an answer or just pretended I can't hear him. I won't win a spot on Dr Phil's Sofa of Good Mums but I've saved my head from exploding a fair few times.


I love my boys fiercely, and I know one day I will look back on this period as one of the happiest times of my life, but some days I wish I could hit fast forward and have them become 10 and 12 year olds who can read long books to themselves and go out with the mates and give their poor old mama a break.

A fellow NZ parent copped a fair bit of grief recently for forgetting his five-year-old daughter was in the back of a car when he dropped it back at the car yard.

Hours later he couldn't find her, thought she was missing and called the police. The Moral High Ground Brigade was quick to wag their collective finger, branding him a bad father and informing us that no real, loving parent could ever forget where their darling child was.

In a brief break from Charlie asking me if I was a toy tractor and did we live in a real house, I read the story and thought, "Yup, completely can see how it's done."

I bet that man, who has a large family, gets asked even more questions a day than I do. Poor bugger. 

Now, if you will excuse me, Charlie has tipped his entire collection of Hot Wheels cars onto the floor and is now asking what the colour of each vehicle is. 

 - Stuff