Daddy Rules: Kids aren’t the only ones with questions

Daddy, how do they make dirt? Why do numbers keep going and the alphabet stops? What’s tomorrow gonna be? How far is Cleveland?

Why do some bug bites itch more? Can I have some popcorn? Were there more than 900 sunflowers in that field? Why is duct tape stronger than scotch tape? Can we play outside?

Daddy Rules columnist Dan Coleman and his children, Ray and Zia

Dan Coleman's daughter, Zia, may be contemplating some big questions behind those sunglasses. Her brother, Ray, has no shortage of questions about the world for his dad.

How do they make toothpicks? Does Mama have yoga tonight? Where does all the pee go in a diaper? Why do I have to put cream on a bug bite if it feels good to scratch it? Why didn’t I get a pink gumball?

Will you read that one again? Do tadpoles have tongues? How long till we’ll be there? Why do Zia and I get different kinds of Happy Meal toys? Can we play in the basement?

Why does permanent marker wash off your skin but not your clothes? Can I have more popcorn? Why did that branch fall off our tree? Can we do water balloons? Will you stop talking?

Why does Mama have to wear a shirt but you don’t? Will you dry off my swing? Do fish get thirsty? Can I have a Band-aid? What is the name of this universe? Will you help me find my ball? Remember when I was so mad yesterday? Why was I so mad?

Where did the toad from the backyard go? Have you seen my thumbtack collection? Why did they close the Jaybowl? Can Zia sleep in my room tonight? Why am I allowed to pee in the backyard but not the front? How come you don’t pee out here with me? Will you push me higher?

When will it be my turn? Did you get a new DVD from the library? Do I have to say “excuse me” if no one hears me burp? Can we play baseball? Will you try to tag me out? Remember when you spilled my chocolate milk? Why doesn’t Caillou have any hair?

Why can’t I marry Zia when I grow up? Why did all our fish die? Can I have an underdog? If pee is number one and poop is number two, what is number three?

Is that a rhetorical question, Ray? Mind if I ask a few of my own? Do you need to go number one or two right now?

Does the dog look like he’s enjoying that? Why do your mom and I have to take you to the dentist if all your baby teeth are going to fall out anyway? Does having a swing on the same oak tree branch for three years make it more likely to snap in a strong wind, or when a kid is swinging on it? Are you a lot like me, or not like me at all?

How come when you and Zia go to bed three hours late, you still wake up at the same time? Why does it have to be before 7 a.m.? How can you eat popsicles in January? Will you please say “please” more often?

Why does Zia get more mosquito bites than you? How can you like those weird-smelling turkey hotdogs but not even want to try funnel cake? Did I warp your musical taste for life by exposing you to so much ’80s pop rock? What would I do if anything ever happened to you?

What’s so great about Paw Patrol? I heard that, and can you say “excuse me”? Do you know where the garage door opener went? How can I wish you would stay this age forever, but also wish you would grow the heck up as soon as possible?

Did I ask my own parents so many questions? How many more will Zia come up with, and how will they be different from yours? Did I think I had a lot of answers before you two were born? Is life really all about the questions? Did I learn that from you?

Does that belong in the fish tank?

— Dan Coleman is secretary on the board of Dads of Douglas County. He is a part-time stay at home dad with a young daughter and son, but in his other life he is a librarian at the Lawrence Public Library, where he selects children’s and parenting books for the Children’s Room. He can be reached at