Mummy, do you get fed-up with these questions?
Mums are asked 300 questions a day. Geraldine Lynagh finds out if they have all the answers
Enda Kenny might think that he's got a hard job, but raising children has got to be one of the toughest tasks around.
Mums step on a treadmill of feeding, clothing, nurturing, protecting and worrying from the day their little offspring is born.
Most would agree they wouldn't have it any other way, but new research shows there is one other little-known occupational hazard mothers must face regularly – interrogation.
A survey by online retailer Littlewoods has found that mothers are asked almost 300 questions a day by their kids.
The prisoner-of-war style bombardment means the average mum faces 12.5 hours of examination daily, with the most questions being fired at them at mealtimes.
Queries varied greatly, veering from the obvious ('Why must we go to school?') to the awkward ('Why are you so old?').
With this in mind, we asked some well-known mothers about the strangest or funniest questions they've ever been asked by their children.
'Is that a boy or a girl?'
Sybil Mulcahy: Presenter of The Morning Show on TV3
"Of my three kids, Genevieve (5) is definitely the one who asks me the most inappropriate questions in public. Once she pointed at someone in front of us in a supermarket – who was clearly a woman – and asked in a loud voice 'Mummy, is that a boy or a girl?'"
"She's also asked me 'Why do you still have a baby in your tummy?' I was not pregnant at the time."
And memorably, she blurted out 'Mummy, he is very small. Why is he small?' referring to a lovely waiter. He took it gracefully and preten-ded not to hear, but we still gave him a big tip!"
'Why can't I watch Peppa Pig all day
Colette Fitzpatrick: TV3 News anchor
"Milo (2) is still quite young, so he hasn't really hit his stride with the questions yet, but when he does, I think I'll be in trouble! When we had that unexpected snow in March, he pointed to it and asked excitedly 'Is Santa coming back?' Every time he sees a worker in a high-viz vest, he asks 'Is that Bob the Builder?' The question that's troubling him at the moment is 'Why can't I watch Peppa Pig all day?'
"I'm sure he will be asking me trickier questions like 'Why is the sky blue?' when he's a bit older and I'm not looking forward to having to explain that. I know there's a reason for it, but I just don't know what it is. I better start studying!"
'Are you getting dead?'
"I think the most astonishing thing my son Sacha asked, at the tender age of four when I first had cancer, was 'Are you getting dead?' Before you blub into your sleeve, he asked it with his legs swinging as he ate a piece of toast in a matter-of-fact voice. So I answered 'No'. 'Are you thinking of getting dead tomorrow?' he asked. 'No', I replied again. 'Ah that's great, we won't worry about it then,' he announced!"
"Since then all our family use 'getting dead' as a phrase. It makes us all laugh out loud and I know it got us through a dark time!"
"My daughter Kim has also asked some great questions, like 'Why don't slugs have eyebrows?' I have no answer to that one!"
'How long was Holly in Daddy's tummy?'
Lucy Kennedy: Radio and TV Presenter
"My little son Jack (3) has come out with some beauties lately, like 'Mummy, do I have a big tummy like you?' (I was not pregnant at the time!)."
"He's also asked 'Do you think you have a big nose, Mummy?' and 'How long was Holly (his little sister) in Daddy's tummy?'"
"I love his questions and I really try to keep a straight face when answering them.
"But like all parents, I'm really dreading the birds and the bees chat, and explaining how he and Holly were born!"
'Do I have to grow up?'
"My daughter Emelia (9) asked me the cutest thing the other night. I was tucking her and Romy in when she asked 'Do I have to grow up?' I said 'Of course, everyone gets older', and she replied 'Can't I be a kid forever? It's so much fun being a kid!' I was delighted because one of my worries is that children these days grow up too fast. I assured her that she doesn't ever really have to grow up. I told her to look at her Daddy and I. When we are with grown-ups, we pretend to be all grown up. But when they are not around, we are anything but. We dance around the kitchen with them and play all sorts of games. I said 'Think about it, we have hardly grown up.' She thought about it and smiled, gave me a massive hug and snuggled under her duvet, grinning from ear to ear."
"I have a feeling it's not always going to be that easy!"
'Stars are babies waiting to be born'
Mairead Farrell: Radio and TV Presenter
"Recently, Dara (6) came out with 'Why do you never put shoes in the wash when they really are the dirtiest?' He asked this as I was putting on a white wash.
"There's nothing I'm really dreading being asked to explain. I actually enjoy his little questions! When he asked 'Where do babies come from?' I told him all the stars in the sky are tiny babies waiting to be born. Now when he chats to pregnant women he asks 'What star did you pick?' Cute!"
Littlewoods.com surveyed 1,000 mothers with kids aged between 2 and 10 and found they get asked a staggering 105,120 questions a year. The average mum faces one question every two minutes and 36 seconds, with four-year-old girls the most inquisitive. Mothers don't even get off the hook when other people are around: 82pc of children go to their mum first with a query, rather than to their Dad.
These were the most common - and toughest - questions mothers were asked to explain.
Why is water wet?
Where does the sky end?
What are shadows made of?
Why is the sky blue?
How do fish breathe?