How Do You Explain a Week?

It’s time again for me to introduce you to my newest Sluiter Nation Recruit.  Don’t know what a Recruit is?  Check it out here.
I am excited to have Natalie from Mommy of a Monster and Twins here today!

I have been reading Natalie’s blog for so long, I don’t even know how I found her.  I love her honesty, her sense of humor, and her lovely heart.

She is the mom to a three-year old son and twin toddler daughters.  She writes a lot.  She is super busy.  I have no idea how she does it.

She must be driven by The Business.

Natalie is a great friend AND she is going to be one of my roomies at BlogHer in August.  I am super excited that she is my Recruit today.


I have never felt so not smart as I have since my 3-year-old started in with the who-what-where-when-why questions. Seriously people, I consider myself a pretty intelligent person. But explaining things to a three-year-old? Not so much.

How do you explain a week to a pre-schooler? Or an hour? A minute for that matter? The concept of time is so foreign to a kid and it is SO hard to explain!

Tater: Mom, when is the Easter Bunny coming?

Me: In two more days.

Tater: When is that?

Me: After you go to sleep at night two more times.

Tater: But we haven’t had dinner or a bath yet. It’s not time to go to sleep.

Another thing that I get asked a lot is how things work.

Tater: Mom, where does the water go when we flush the toilet?

Me: It goes down the drain and into the big pipes to the sewer.

Tater: Where is the sewer?

Me: Under the street?

Tater: Where does it go then?

Me: ???

The thing hardest to explain though? Death. My husband Jason’s parents have both passed away, and we try to have the kids understand who they are and that they are in Heaven…not easy for a 3-year-old to understand. Our one-year-old twins have no idea yet, but I already know the questions that will come.

We also tell Tater that if he is mean to his sisters, he can hurt them so badly that they will “go to sleep and never wake up and we won’t be able to ever see them again”.

Tater: Does that mean they will die?

Me: If you sit on their chest or their face they can’t breathe. And then, yes, they could die.

Tater: Why can’t they breathe?

Me: Because they can’t get any air.

Tater: Why do they need air?

Me: Air makes our bodies work and we have to breathe it in to get it inside of us.

Tater: Can’t they just go outside?

Me: Well no, not if you squish them they can’t.

Tater: Why?

The never ending circle of questions that always, ALWAYS ends with Tater asking “Why?”

We had a recent conversation about Blue, my mom and dad’s cat that recently had to be put to sleep.

Tater: Mom, Blue died, huh?

Me: Yes. Blue was old and sick and he died. He’s in Heaven now.

Tater: How did he get to Heaven?

Me: God came and picked him up and took him way up in the sky past the clouds. That’s where Heaven is.

Tater: But how did God get him?

Me: God has wings like an angel and he uses them to fly.

Tater: Mom! People don’t have wings only birds do!

These conversations are enough to make me feel like I’m the biggest moron on the planet, and one who cannot adequately explain things well enough for even a child to understand.

Please tell me I’m not the only one out there that feels this way! If you’ve already been through this with your kids, that means you survived it…and I need to know how?

I want to thank Katie for inviting me over here and I consider it an honor to be one of the first Sluiter Nation alumni! And I’m serious about the request for advice on how to answer all these questions!


Natalie’s blog is the place to BE, people!  She has a guest series on Mondays called Monster Mommy Moments that is brilliant. And I am not just saying that because she asked me to participate, but because it truly is a time to not feel alone in this thing called Mothering.

Other posts you will love by Natalie…

I relate so much to Sweet Memory because my own baby boy is growing into a little boy before my eyes.

To Respond or Not To Respond, That is the Question is a post that gave me release from trying to comment on every single comment that comes to my blog.

And Feeling Trapped was so beautiful that I rejoiced with Natalie when BlogHer decided to syndicate it.

Thank you, Natalie, for being part of The Nation!

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. Audrey’s favorite topic is what day it is. We have several activities that are done on specific days so she always wants to know the day. When you tell her she will contradict you. She has not gotten heavily into the why stage but she certainly talks a great deal. Her father went away with her alone for three days and said she got down to string theory.

  2. I got roped in to explaining stroke yesterday. {sigh}

  3. The explanation as to why the man in the pool in Mexico was wearing floral bikini bottoms and hugging his friend … turned out well, they were a delightful couple. One taught Science in Canada and chatted with my oldest for hours. Now we are friends on Facebook 😉

  4. JDaniel makes me truly think about every word I say and if it really makes sense. It is like take a class on communication skills everyday. His latest is why do people do the things the no-no signs say not to. (No-no signs have a red circle with a line through them.)

  5. I love Natalie and you! As for the questions, I get them constantly, at least he is getting you ready for when both of the girls start in on you at the same time. We are now getting the death question which is so tough.

  6. Yes the death thing, is very difficult…and the time thing…and you were just right about it all. Often times I just pretend like I don’t hear my 3 year old’s question or just distract her with something else.

  7. Abbey is three, too, so I don’t have an answer of how to get through it, LOL. I get constant questioning as well and some of the questions are so very circular. What’s that guy’s name? Bob. Why? His parents named him that, because they thought it was a nice name. Why? and so on.

    Death is a tough one. I tried to explain heaven, and it didn’t work at all. My mom told her my grandpa is in heaven with the stars, and now she thinks he is a star. That worked a little better.

  8. My son asks tons of science questions. How does that work? Why does that happen? Science is not my thing, thank god for Google!

  9. Yeah…most of the questions I field these days have to do with Chuck Norris’ superpowers.

    Think I’m kidding? Stop by my place.

    As far as answering the tricky death/Heaven/God questions…I’m perfectly A-OK with telling my Cherubs that I don’t know the answer sometimes…and that I’m putting their query on my ever-growing list of questions that I plan to ask Him one day. They each actually have a running list of “Questions for God.”

  10. I am right in the middle of it, with twin 3 yr olds….there are reasons for medication, I assure you. 😉
    I spend the whole of our time together anymore just answering questions….why, why, why, who, what, etc. I too feel like a complete moron, I mean how do you explain GOD and Jesus and who is God’s daddy? Um, He is the daddy…”but he doesn’t have a daddy?” “umm….”

    I so feel your pain. Really. xo

  11. My boys are 5 and 6, so we are finally past the “Why?” stage! Know that whatever answers you are providing are probably AOK, even if your child still asks “Why?” after you answer. And it’s totally OK to say you don’t know (or, “ask dad”)! What made me laugh is the “where does the water go?” conversation you had. My boys were both obsessed with that, to the point where my 5YO now wants to work for the water company when he grows up! Oh, one answer that might help w/time-related questions: One hour equals two TV shows. It seems to be a currency that makes sense (if you let your kid watch TV).

    • Oh, I like your time concept – Ethan loves watching TV so that’s something he could understand (why didn’t I think of that?!)

      My favorite response to the water-type questions is go ask dad, so we’re on the same page with that one!

  12. Oy vey!! Conversations with pre-schoolers are tough!! They go on and on and on and on….well, you get the idea. “because I said so” starts to sound like a great answer!!

  13. Thanks for having me over today Katie! I love this post because it SO represents my life right now! 😉

    And thanks to everybody for the advice – it’s much appreciated!

    • I love that you posted about this today, Natalie. I think it’s so important! As a teacher, I see so many kids whose inquiries were stifled as children because their parents didn’t want to deal with it or they didn’t want to admit they didn’t know. It slowly discouraged the kids from questioning things and now, as teenagers, they just want things handed to them. They don’t want to THINK or QUESTION anything.

      I love the conversation this has started!

      This is why you are welcome in the Nation any time, Natalie!!!

  14. When my baby brother was around 8, I moved in with my best (gay) guy friend. This caused a slight uproar for reasons I don’t even want to get into. And I took a walk with my brother one night and he asked me why our mom was so upset about it. I tried to gently explain. He thought about it and said “I think you guys should get married. Why don’t you just get married and it’ll be okay?”. Talk about opening another can of worms…!

    If all else fails, you can always refer to my mom and dad for advice. They’d just say “Just because”. And that pretty much ended the questioning 😉

  15. And then when they want to know details about heaven, if the people in heaven will be forgotten, and how funerals work? It only gets worse as they age, Nat! 🙂

  16. My oldest is 7 and the questions keep getting more difficult. I do lots of “I don’t know – let’s go look it up”. And we do. Does it lead to more questions? Yup. Am I dreading my twins hitting this stage? Yup – they turn 3 next month. AAAACK!

    • Oh good! You’ll go through it with your twins before I will! Mine are turning 2 in August. So I’ve got at least a year before the questions start all over again!

  17. my twins are 5 1/2 and the questions continue to confound me. As far as death goes? We love the book “Dog Heaven” by Cynthia Rylant. Helps explain things and such a sweet book w/ cute illustrations.

    And since I’m pregnant? you can imagine THOSE questions. Although they haven’t *really* asked about how the baby got there. They’re more concerned w/ whether it’s a boy or a girl. We did get stuck in a looooong discussion about how the baby breathes if it’s living in a bag of water inside of me. THAT was super fun.


  18. My God I can relate to this…the questions…they never end! And they seem to all be related to death and heaven. Go figure.

    • Another friend that has a question asker…your posts about the questions always (used to) make me laugh. Now I just feel your pain 😉

  19. Best advice I’ve gotten is to answer their question with “What do you think?” Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s worth it when it does! 🙂 I read somewhere that you don’t truly understand something until you can explain it to preschooler or an aging parent.

  20. You are not alone. I get asked ridiculous questions all day, every day. From both the 4-year-olds and the 14-year-olds. When John was 6 we were riding in the car and he very calmly asked, “Mommy what do salamanders eat?” Ummm…I don’t know…so random!

    The one question I have waited for over the years that neither of my twin sets have asked is, why doesn’t “so & so” have a twin. I always figured they wondered where their friends’ twin was… Maybe not. I guess that is just my dumb question:)

  21. I can never explain things to my oldest son. Ever. You’re not a moron. 😉 Great recruit, Katie!

  22. Oh so funny I just wrote a post today about my 5 yr old putting me on the spot and asking me how my hubby and I made him?!? I am so not ready for these questions!

  23. What a fantastic recruit. Hilarious writing I am sure a lot of people can relate to with ease. Thanks for the read!

  24. Katie AND Natalie in the same place?! How awesome is that! I love me some Natalie!

    And Natalie, I hate to tell you this but the questions just keep getting harder and harder. I suggest Google.

    • Sherri, since the girls are moving in with you and/or The Empress, why don’t I just send Tater too? Once they all get out of the question stage, you can send them home. That’ll be what? 18 more years or so?