Because I'm the boss. Because I said so. I thought these such churlish answers when I was a child. Even after I had my first few children. I said to myself, and anyone else who would listen, does it really take any longer to say, "Because it's hot!" or "It will make you sick!" ?
And even if it does take a bit longer to explain why, aren't these precious little children worth the effort of explaining why?
I have decided that "Because I said so" is the best answer in some situations, and for some children, in just about every situation.
First he wants a book at nap time. Reasonable, right? He's older, it takes him longer to fall asleep. Okay. So I give him a book. Pretty soon he wants another book. I give him a whole box. He's bored. Can he color? Boredom is terrible, I agree. I say fine. As long as you are quiet you may color. Soon everyone else who is still awake wants to color. Fine. Then he wants a piece of tape, another piece of paper, a pair of scissors. He wakes up one of the kids by stepping on them. Kimber, do you have any pipe cleaners? Pretty soon everyone wants everything. Instead of a book to read, we have full fledged art projects going on, and they are fighting over who has what, and those who have gone to sleep on time get woken up and are grouchy.
This is the child who could not stay on his mat at naptime, so I thought I'd give him an entire 8'x5' rug. With a box of books and puzzles and crayons. You can do whatever you want during naptime, as long as you stay on this rug and are reasonably quiet. He was off that rug in less than a minute, slapping the tile, kicking the wall, pulling the blankets off the other kids.
This is the child who takes ten chances, and after you've had it, really had it up to here, and you tell him he can't play outside anymore, this is the kid who cries and begs and weeps so you give him ONE MORE CHANCE, and he blows it, every time. Within minutes he's hitting, throwing toys, something. Whatever it is you told him not to do.
He wants a straw at lunchtime. Okay, why not? He blows bubbles in his milk. They all blow so many bubbles there is milk dripping off the table, and the baby slips and hits her head. All the milk dries all over the table and chair legs. They step in it, track it all over the house, where it dries, gets sticky, and attracts dirt. By five pm, it looks like I haven't mopped in a week. They poke each other in the eye, and jam straws up their noses. I have to clean up blood–which in this State is a huge process because I don't know if your child has AIDS or not. I'm not allowed to ask.
And the next day, when I explain why he can't have a straw, and he promises no bubbles, really promises, no kidding this time, and I cave; he does it again. Or more likely, tells someone else to do it–and then does it, too.
So no. You can't have books at naptime even if you promise not to ask for more. You can't have a straw at lunch time, even if I have six hundred in the cupboard. You can't both be in the bathroom at the same time. You can't pour your own syrup, cereal, or milk. You can't open any doors anywhere in my house, even just to see what's there.
Because I know where it leads. I know, you promise, you promise, you promise, you reeeeeeeally promise whatever it is you are promising this time around. I understand that you want whatever it is you want.
Because I said so.