The “What?” Phase

The "What" PhaseRemember my “why” phase post?

Oh we’re still in it. But not we’ve tacked on another one syllable word.


The What Phase is now in play here.

As in, “Bella, get your shoes on please.”


“Can you leave the cat alone?”


“Oh! An airplane is landing over there!”


“Did you finish your lunch?”


Every single question or statement is either followed by what or why – and sometimes it’s both.

Before everyone jumps on the, “It’s her hearing!” bandwagon – it’s not. Her hearing is fine. It’s that she’s 4 and simply too busy living and dreaming in her own 4 year old world to plug back into mine. Her attention span is that of a gnat, unless she’s playing. Then it’s so focused on her animals that she can’t tune back in right away.

I feel like I may go slightly crazy repeating myself. In fact, I spend a good portion of my day saying the same things over and over again. Followed up by, “Aren’t you listening to me?”

The answer to that, “What?”

So while I try to figure out a way to get Bella to pay attention a bit more, I’m also reminding myself that for the moment, it’s just a phase. Should it drag on and on, it might become a problem. That doesn’t mean that right now I’m not trying to work with her on it. I don’t need it to become a problem because we just let her not pay attention to us the first time. Not everything in life will be on repeat for her, and it’s a good lesson to learn early on.

One thing I have found that works a good portion of the time is asking her to repeat back my instructions or comment after she asks what. Often she does – without even thinking about it. She’ll say, “You said…” and I wonder if “What?” has become some kind of an automated response for her.

I was so good at this kind of thing before having kids. Really. I need to channel that back.


Diana blogs at Diana Wrote about her life with a daughter here and three sons in heaven, life as an army wife, and her faith. You can also find her work on Liberating Working MomsShe Reads Truth, Still Standing Magazine, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post, with smaller glimpses into her day onTwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

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Article Posted 2 years Ago

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