Years ago, 1987 if I remember correctly, we were visiting my sister and her family across town. My niece was about two at the time and my sister commented that if someone taught her baby to ask “why?” she would end that person’s life. In what seemed to be the same breath, she asked my wife and me if we could watch her daughter overnight so that she and her husband could have some alone time.
I thought to myself, “you throw down a challenge and then are foolish enough to ask me to watch your child?” “Sure! We’d love to!” I cheerfully responded. My niece loves her “Uncle Mawk” as she used to call me and was excited about spending the night with us. As soon as we got back to our place, the training started.
My little niece Stephanie had a cute way of speaking back then and at a very young age would pipe up with “Heffie!” when asked her name. Shortly after “Heffie” came “Heffamie” and to this day I lovingly call her so. But to return to the story, her training started that afternoon. I repeated over and over again that whenever Mommy told her to do something she should smile at Mommy and say “Why?”
Stephanie being the quick learner she was excelled in this lesson so quickly, I felt obligated to advance her to the intermediate class of “Great Things Uncles Teach Nieces” where she was given an extra response. The rest of the evening and the next morning she played with her cousins and soon enough my sister arrived to retrieve her daughter.
After a short period of chit-chat about the great evening she had with her husband, my sister looked at Heffie and said “Put your shoes on, it’s time to go.”
Heffie looked up at her Mommy and replied “Why?”
My sister’s response of “Because” was preceded with a glare at me.
No sooner had “because” left her lips when Heffie responded with “Because why?”
“I hate you” my sister growled at me; and in unison both Heffie and I replied innocently “Why?”
With her other daughter from a very early age would tell her mother she wanted this and that whenever they went to the store. My sister’s response to her was always “we don’t have the money.” The first time we babysat her, I taught Heffie’s little sister “K-Bob” (I really have no idea why we called her that) to respond with “Charge it!”
The lesson to be learned here is for parents never to challenge aunts, uncles and grandparents, because if you do, as family we are obligated to take that challenge very seriously for family entertainment.