I Don’t Know Where I’m Gonna Go

I don't know

Lately I feel like I’m living in a Jimmy Buffett song when I talk to my son Jake. The conversations usually go something like this:

Me: Why did you slide into that pile of pillows when I told you not to play baseball in the house?

Jake: I don’t know.

Me: How do you not hear me when I’m standing right in front of you?

Jake: I don’t know.

One of these days, the kid is gonna break out in song and say, “I don’t know where I’m gonna go when the volcano blows!”

We have now reached the ‘I don’t know’ phase in life. I admit, I did a good job of handling the “Why?” stage that came a few years ago. I like to think I’m pretty smart so I actually answered his why questions. If I couldn’t come up with an answer, I’d turn it back on him and say, “Why do you think it is?” That one usually got him to stop asking me questions and if I was lucky, a few moments of silence.

This ‘I don’t know’ stuff with Jake is driving me insane. In the dark, unpacked boxes of my memories, I remember saying ‘I don’t know’ to my mom too. It seems at the time, I really didn’t know why I did those things. Thinking back now, I still don’t know. I just did it. So I guess a part of me gets this.

But how does a boy fake a shower when his mother clearly says to him to wash his hair and clean yourself really good because you’ve been riding bikes and swimming in the pool for hours?

I don’t know.

I find that hard to believe. Jake was one of five kids in his school to be accepted into the Enrichment Program when he was in 1st Grade. He’s WAY too smart not to know. I had his IQ tested so it’s too hard for me to accept that answer.

Every week we go through this stuff with his behavior at school. How does he NOT know by now that his teacher is going to send me an email about how he acted out again? Another year and another teacher who has my email saved her in contact list. Why does this keep happening Jake?

I don’t know.

I’m really at a loss here folks about how to get through to him. We’ve talked and talked AND talked about this. Obviously conversations are not working. I’ve taken away TV time and even time for him to play on the tablet. Last weekend, he didn’t get a new bike as a punishment for his behavior.

Anyone have some words of wisdom to help me get through this stage? And it’s got to be something so big that when he says to me “I don’t know,” I get do this thing and say back to him, “See that? Now you know.”

Photo credit: End of Days

10 thoughts on “I Don’t Know Where I’m Gonna Go

  1. The dreaded “i don’t know”. What an awful phase! I’m sending you good energy as you go through this! I wish I had an answer, or even some advice; however, I don’t. Fortunately, that phase with Mr. T was very short lived, but cost me almost $3000. He made some bad choices so I had to make choices of my own, which included a job change that allowed me to work from home so I could spent more time with him. It was what worked for me… But again, I just don’t have any helpful words of wisdom. Good luck!

    • That’s right … the I don’t know is a part of the bad choices phase. Crap, I forgot that. Bless your heart, $3000! I hope we don’t get there but it wouldn’t surprise me if that happens.

      I already work most of my time from home as I own my own business so I set my own hours. I’m not sure he needs me go spend more time with him because then I’ll just hear I don’t know more and it’ll drive even more crazy.

  2. All I can say is, “I don’t know.”
    Actually, I think I don’t know is I don’t want to tell you or discuss it. I suppose it is another way of a child calling out for independence. How or if you grant that – I am not sure. I suppose it depends on the situation. Good luck.

    • That was an interesting perspective. But I guess you hear that all the time as a teacher. It’s a whole different story when your kids start to say it. I get the independent thing – he’s been pushing for more independent stuff lately so maybe you’re right and its connected.

  3. My dear child!  I am so glad to hear that “I don’t know” has moved to your house.  You see, he lived here for many, many years.  He drank all the iced tea and put the empty container back in the fridge.   He ate my Cheerios!  (that sob!)  He made long distance calls on my phone and later on, he’d use my car and not put gas in it.  That said, here’s what finally worked for me.  When someone said “I don’t know,” I told them to sit right there in that chair and figure it out and I’d be back in 15 minutes for the answer.  Oh, I got some weird answers, and when I did, I just suggested they give it more thought and I’d be back in another 15 minutes.  It took a little time but this approach finally worked.  Good luck!


    • I LOVE that idea! I’m going to start doing that as soon as I hear the next I don’t know.

      You’re so funny (missed seeing you for writing class) about how its finally moved to my house. That answer sounds like I gave you a good writing prompt for you to write one of your stories 🙂

  4. Pingback: The Parrothead | My journey to live an authentic life

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