I don’t know everything.

My children ask questions all day long. As they should, it is how they learn. My concern is that they ask them to me. I like to think I am an educated person, but turns out I know virtually nothing. Although sometimes the questions are ludicrous, such as 2 minutes ago when my teenager asked me if it was cold outside. I am clearly wearing pyjamas, and do not have a secret job for the Met Office, so either she thinks I am some sort of meteorological psychic, or she is asking me as she sees me as some fountain of all knowledge, or she is just plain daft.

“I don't need to know everything, I just need to know where to find it, when I need it”

The toddler wanted to know why there was weetabix in his porridge, and wouldn’t accept my answer that it was because he in fact was eating weetabix and not porridge, as opposed to some secret wheat based colonisation of his oat based cereal having occurred.

But other times they ask sensible questions. Like Syd asked me what time it was, I replied half past two. ‘Why?’ He continued. Good question. Why is it half past two? Who decided it was half past two? And when the clocks change in a couple of weeks it will be half past three, so it isn’t even fixed. I tried explaining that it was just a nominal name designated to a particular part of the day by human beings so that they can feel like they have some sort of grip on their lives, but that was a little philosophical for him. So why is it half past two, or ten to eight or whatever? It just is I guess.

Then the are the nature based queries. Why is the sky blue? Now I am on my third child, so I can answer about refracted light and all that now. But when it comes to naming plants and birds, I am hopeless. I need to get us an I-Spy book I think.

Once I was in a car with my ex- husband, and he was bemoaning the fact that he didn’t know any of this stuff, and saying how his Dad knew everything. He pointed out the window at a bird in a field alongside the road and said, with a nostalgic tone, ‘See, if my Dad was still alive, he would be able to tell you what that was.’ ‘It’s a swan.’ I replied, before dissolving in fits of giggles. But still, his point was valid, even if his bird identification skills are shit. Our parents knew stuff.

Or did they? I lie sometimes. For fun. I taught my children that sheep that have been recently shorn are called Shauns. And that the Swedish for light bulb is ‘Lighty bulben’ (which it may well be for all I know.) Just little white lies, no worse than teeth purchasing fairies and the like. Perhaps my parents ‘It’s a speckle headed snorblauser’ was all made up too.

And all that bird naming stuff is a walk in the park compared to some questions ‘Why do we have wars?’ ‘Why don’t those children on the telly have any food?’. Who wants to tell their tiny precious, well fed bundles about the horror of the world. ‘Because the human race can be incredibly cruel.’ That is not the good start for a bedtime story.

‘What is love?’ is a nicer one. Although you can probably answer it better than I did, which involved bursting into a tragic rendition of the 1990s classic by Haddaway. (Yes, I had to google his name.)

Speaking of google, how did we manage without that? I can now find a quick educational article on the internal workings of the combustion engine, designed to be understood by the enquiring ten-year old, in about 15 seconds. Thank goodness for that, it relieves me from having to know anything!! Although I miss the rummaging around in the dusty, outdated encyclopedia that was the search engine of my childhood.

The best thing about children asking questions is that I sometimes I get to find out the answers too. I love learning new stuff. Only this week, thanks to an offhand remark in a newspaper article, I discovered little flaps in the end of the foil box, that push into the tube, holding it in place so you can unroll it freely. REV-O-LUTIONISED my life. How did I get to 40 without knowing that existed?!? It is good to keep learning new stuff, even if it’s only purpose is to make sandwich wrapping a little easier.

I think it is OK not to know everything, not to be infallible. It is fine to say ‘I don’t know, let’s find out together.’ Never stop learning, learning is brilliant, and I am glad I can do it alongside my kids. Unless it’s algebra, I closed my mind to that gibberish years ago.

What are the best questions you have been asked by your kids?

Love Miss Cisco XXX




  1. March 13, 2014 / 10:05 am

    Elle, who is 5, is going through a question stage. She too asks the “why is the sky blue” and asking what every tree and flower is called. I am amazed at her curiosity and i have to sometimes say that i don;t actually know but when we get home, we shall look it up together. God bless the internet!
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  2. March 13, 2014 / 10:38 am

    I didn’t know that about the foil box either.
    Isaac is a question machine at the moment, mostly about wildlife (which I have very little knowledge of).

  3. March 13, 2014 / 10:53 am

    Google saves me a lot…..lol My kids always ask me random questions where I’m clueless to the answer…..Where do Topsy and Tim live? Does Harry Styles wear PJ’s for bed, How do you make shampoo and all the animal and nature questions…
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  4. March 13, 2014 / 11:05 am

    Thank God for Google…….Although having 2 Teens in the house is like having real life Google……..They seem to know everything…..Apparently. Great post as usual, laughing over my mutated cornflakes/frosties. xxxx

  5. March 13, 2014 / 12:14 pm

    Great post. I deplore the availability of Google to school children. A new generation which learns on a diet of “fast-food” information, invariably superficial and not well researched. Almost gone are the days of reading books for information, learning to be selective and critical yourself instead of relying on a search engine.
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  6. March 13, 2014 / 12:45 pm

    Oh my God, how come I didn’t know this about foil?! I’m going to investigate it RIGHT NOW! I actually started my blog because my kids asked so many hilarious and pointless questions.

  7. March 13, 2014 / 12:45 pm

    I’m a Google fan too. I don’t know a bird from a bird and plants, I’m useless at too
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  8. March 13, 2014 / 3:07 pm

    Shit… your kidding me – flaps at the ends of the foil roll box *rushes into kitchen* OMG OMG there are there are…. I never knew that either. YOU. HAVE. TOTALLY. MADE. MY. DAY. YOU HAVE CHANGED MY LIFE AND I AM ETERNALLY INDEBTED TO YOU….

    Little A is asking loads and loads of questions now mainly about how body parts work…. fortunately these are all directed at Younger Dad! X

  9. March 13, 2014 / 3:47 pm

    My almost 3yo is at the question stage. I’m luckily used to it having previously dealt with 30 8 years olds asking me some bizzare questions! If I didn’t know the answer we would make a big deal,of using books and the internet to research it, and always had a question and answer display board which the kids loved!
    I’m glad I’ve learnt that about the foil- just told hubby and he ran into ktchen excitedly to see (he’s a bit odd like that!)
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  10. Eeh bah mum
    March 13, 2014 / 3:52 pm

    The more questions they ask the stupider I feel. I had to stop and think if dragons were real the other day.

    Best question ever has to be ‘Why don’t we eat all that chocolate daddy hid in the cupboard?’
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  11. March 13, 2014 / 3:56 pm

    I love sitting down and finding things out together. Remember the days of having family encyclopedia books on the shelves? Groaning> I love we can find things on Google now so much more quickly.
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  12. March 13, 2014 / 4:02 pm

    Ahhhhh all the questions!

    For what it’s worth a) I instantly internally sang “What is love?” as well and b) it seems we have all been imparted by your own recent discovery about tin foil as well. My husband is a CHEF for crying out loud and I never knew that!
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  13. March 13, 2014 / 4:37 pm

    Pahahah, Hilarious!

    My 3 yo is a huge fan of the ‘WHY?’, but yesterday when I told her I loved her she tapped me on the arm and said, “don’t worry mum, I’m just a grandma”.

    Weirdos 🙂 x

  14. March 13, 2014 / 7:35 pm

    Great post. We have just bought my first encyclopedia so we can learn new things together. My 9 year old can find out more about the world.
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  15. March 13, 2014 / 7:56 pm

    My son is always asking me odd questions – at the moment they seem to revolve around Space as he is learning about it at school. I know nothing about it and we have been learning together through the wonder that is the internet! I don’t see the harm in a few little lies here and there, for our own amusement if nothing else!
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  16. March 13, 2014 / 7:59 pm

    I always want to be learning new things and it is great to admit that you don’t know everything to your children, then you can show them how to research and discover so that they can start to find out things for themselves. Little one has only just started talking but he has already come out with “What is Wisdom” so goodness knows what I have to come.
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  17. March 13, 2014 / 8:09 pm

    I’ve had so many questions like the weetabix one. They just won’t accept it will they. Love the quote. It’s very true.
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  18. March 13, 2014 / 8:12 pm

    I love your posts – really cracking up.
    I havent experienced this yet as the toddler can barely string a sentence together.
    I am not clued up on anything to do with history or geography or space but her dads pretty clever!
    Oh god, a swan! still giggling!
    model mummy recently posted…Wedding plansMy Profile

  19. March 13, 2014 / 8:28 pm

    I have a teen, so the only question he asks me is what’s for tea, anything else is beyond me unless it’s geography and then maybe I can answer. I do try and steer him in the direction of books before Google, occasionally it works!! 🙂
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  20. March 13, 2014 / 8:32 pm

    Got to love the innocent questions asked by children. Google is an absolute life saver!

  21. March 13, 2014 / 8:49 pm

    My 3 year old constantly asks me questions. I gave up answering ages ago and now just say “Ask Daddy”.
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  22. March 13, 2014 / 9:05 pm

    This is a lovely post, which made me smile!

    I don’t have children, but I have many clients who ask me unusual questions, I like the idea of finding out together – it’s a good save :’) x
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  23. March 13, 2014 / 11:07 pm

    Hehe it’s pointless my kids asking me anything as I haven’t got a clue!! ‘It just is’ is a great response isn’t it? lol.. And google, yes it great isn’t it? The encyclopedia must be completely redundant now! 4 yr old asked me yesterday why dinosaurs have toes!!
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  24. March 14, 2014 / 5:51 am

    Oh yes I am so with you on all of this. Made up answers. Tick. Ridiculous questions. Tick. The foil box. Tick. The questions from my ten year old have become trickier of late and when he asked me to explain what gay sex was the other day, I decided to not go into that in too much detail!!
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  25. March 14, 2014 / 8:35 am

    I giggled at “the swan” reply, I imagine you very poker faced whilst saying that! And the the little funny lies, like a recently shorn sheep being called Shaun had me in fits!

    I remember hunting through very old encyclopedias for school projects, or at the library, now it’s just Google it or Wiki, kids these days don’t know they’re born!! x
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  26. March 14, 2014 / 9:51 am

    My eldest asks me a lot, and in some things he already knows more than me! arghh! he tells me stuff that I don’t know, then I google to check and it’s all true!
    My middle one has just learned how to ask “why?” so thats the question I get from him seveeral times a day – nothing more to it just “why mummy why?” lol

    I love the “shauns” thing – hehe
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  27. March 14, 2014 / 11:02 am

    Ooh, be careful what you tell your kids as they take it into adulthood and believe it to be true. This has definitely backfired on me once or twice! It’s too much fun not to make stuff up though, so congratulations on some fabulous suggestions!
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  28. Gude @HodgePodgeCraft
    March 14, 2014 / 11:07 am

    here here!

    I do get annoyed though when my eldest (3) asks things like: “Mummy, what day is it today?”
    Me: “It’s Friday darling”
    Him: “No it’s not, it’s MONDAY!”
    Why in the blue-blazes did you ask me if you’re so sure you already know the answer?!

    We make things up too. For instance, did you know that the ice-cream van only plays a tune when it has run out of ice-cream? 😉
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  29. March 14, 2014 / 11:55 am

    I miss the old days of the library sometimes
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  30. March 14, 2014 / 7:17 pm

    I love how inquisitive kids are! It’s definitely ok not to know everything, in the old days it used to be “ask your dad”, now it’s more likely to be “Google it!” lol
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  32. March 15, 2014 / 10:54 pm

    I had to Google the answer to a question from my three year old the other day. What is the name for a group of Giraffes? A herd. Who knew? I’m all in favour of teasing them with fake answers though, love ‘shauns’.
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  33. March 16, 2014 / 6:28 pm

    my son is only two & already asking me questions I find hard to answer! x
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  34. March 16, 2014 / 8:06 pm

    I think it is OK not to know everything but I wouldn’t recommend lying … even just for fun… one of these “funny” things they will remember and then repeat to others
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