Note: This is the most popular post I ever wrote on this site and it was basically written by my kids!
Decision fatigue is real. Decision fatigue is the mental exhaustion and reduced willpower that comes from making many, many micro-calls every day. My modern American lifestyle, with its endless variety of choices, from a hundred kinds of yogurt at the grocery store to the more than 4,000 movies available on Netflix, breeds decision fatigue. But it is my kids that really fry my brain.
At last I understand that my own mother’s penchant for saying “ask your father” wasn’t deference to her then husband but the most desperate sort of buck-passing–especially since my father dealt with decision fatigue by saying yes to pretty much everything, which is how my brothers and I ended up taking turns rolling down the steep hill we grew up on inside an aluminum trash can.
I decided to write down every question that required a decision that my my two kids asked me during a single day. This doesn’t include simple requests for information like “how do you spell ‘secret club’?” or “what is the oldest animal in the world?” or the perennial favorite, “why do people have to die?” Recording ALL the questions two kids ask in a day would be completely intractable. So, limiting myself to just those queries that required a decision, here are the results.
Can I play on your phone until you wake up?
Will you make a creature on this kids app?
Can we have breakfast now?
Can we have waffles?
Can I use my own money to buy candy and ice cream at the corner store when we go to buy eggs to make waffles?
Will you help me count my money?
Can we have chocolate chips in the waffles?
Can I mix it?
Can I measure the baking powder?
Can I mix it now? It is my turn.
Can we listen to Dynamite by Taio Cruz instead of this podcast about the Mueller investigation while we make breakfast?
Can we listen to bouncy music instead of this podcast about the Mueller investigation while we make breakfast?
Can we listen to anything besides this?
Can we listen to music from the Hayao Miyazaki film Ponyo while we eat?
Will you turn up the Ponyo music?
Will you peel this orange for me? The skin feels weird since you used it to make orange zest for a recipe a couple days ago.
Will you pre-chew my gumball since it is too large to fit in my mouth?
Will you open this package containing a gross looking gummy pizza?
Should we save this mostly uneaten waffle?
Will you open this other gross looking gummy pizza?
Will you play Quirkle with us, a color and shape matching game that takes forever?
Will you play this flower card game with us?
Can we play the dice game afterwards?
Which of the games should we play with the flower cards?
Can you help me figure out how this flower rummy game is played?
Can you explain it to me? I was washing gum off my face when you explained it to my sister.
Can I look at your cards?
Can I watch a kid show about a blue fox called Tumble Leaf?
Can we play a different card game?
Can we go back to the corner store and buy more candy?
Which card should I play?
Can we play one more game?
Can we play Old Maid?
What time is lunch?
Will you tell us who you are texting?
Can I text your friend Sarah?
Can I also text her? I can’t really read or write but I can send emojis.
Can we go on the walk now?
Can I go up the block and bug that family with a lot of kids who never let their kids wander around loose and who might be judgmental about you letting your kids wander around loose?
My sister is not helping clean up the game! (Implied question: Will you make her?)
My sister is still not helping clean up the game!
I noticed that on the cover of this book it says “A Narwhal and Jelly Book.” Can we look up and see if there are more in the series?
Ooh! Can we buy these other Narwhal and Jelly books?
Can I please play on your phone?
Can we have lunch now?
Can we have ice cream for lunch?
Can we go to Fred Meyer and buy the packet with sweet stuff that Delcie in my class always has? (He means Lunchables).
Can we have kale salad with lemon parmesan dressing?
Will you get me a glass of water?
Will you play 20 questions with us while we eat lunch?
Will you think of the next one?
Will you guess one more?
Do you want to eat the meat out the tail of this shrimp?
Can we do a magic trick for you?
Where should I put this sticky syrup pitcher?
Can we do the magic trick before we take the slippers upstairs like you asked us?
Can I take my bow and arrows on the walk?
Can we watch Tumble Leaf?
Can you make the voice of the Stick character from Tumble Leaf?
Where is my coat? (Implied: will you help me find my coat?)
What coat should I wear?
Will you hold my arrows while I wash my face?
Where is my mitten?
What should I do with this rose I found on the street?
Can I put my mittens in your purse?
Can we go to the playground?
Can we go up the hill at the edge of town?
Will you nock my arrow for me?
Will you hold my bow?
Can I have my bow back?
Will you carry my mittens?
Can I have my mittens back?
Will you hold my mittens again?
Can I have my mittens back again?
Will you hold my bow and arrows?
Can we go further up the hill?
Can we play more with Sarah’s kids?
Can we stay longer?
Can you put my hat on my head since I already put on my mittens?
Can you hand me my boots?
Can you button my sweater?
Can I have my mittens?
Can I type on your computer?
Can you tie my apron?
Can we listen to Dean Martin?
Can you tie my apron again? It came undone.
Can you tie my apron again? It came undone again.
Can you download a painting program for me to make art with?
Can you download a cooler looking painting program for me to make art with?
Can we have those ice cream bars I bought at the corner store for desert?
Can we play Quirkle after dinner?
May I be excused?
Are you done with your food?
Are you going to have any more salad?
Can I finish this one thing before you take the computer back?
Where do I put the pan that has the food in it?
The pan is too heavy; what should I do?
I can’t find the lid for the peppers; what should I do?
Can we come into the living room with our ice cream bars even though you told us to stay in the dining room?
Can I sleep in my jeans?
Can I sleep in my skirt and leggings?
Can I play on the art program some more?
Can I show you my art?
Do we have to go to bed RIGHT NOW?
Can we read another chapter?
Can we sleep with you?
Can I keep my light on?
What are we going to do tomorrow?