How to Answer Your Nosy Family’s Questions Like a Toddler

By Chloe Yelena Miller of

Aunt Margaret, zipping her ankle-length, leopard-print coat: “Are you really wearing that to dinner?”
You, in a red T-shirt and jeans: “It’s my superhero costume! I’m Superman!” [You hold one arm up and squint your eyes as if it’s windy when you fly.]

Grandma with a single leaf of lettuce left on her plate: “You’re taking seconds? A minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.”
You, reaching for the giant platter of chicken smothered in gravy: “I’m a meat-eating dinosaur! ROAR!”

Third Cousin George playing with his high school class ring: “How are you still working that terrible job?”
You, feeling your cell phone vibrate in your pocket: “THE. LEGO. CASTLE. IS. NOT. FINISHED. YET.”

Mom with raised eyebrows: “You’re not dating anyone, are you?”
You, thinking about the last swipe on Tinder: “They have cooties!” [You shake your head swiftly from side to side.]

Aunt Lucy: “Did you buy your Maid-of-Honor dress yet?”
Mentally listing excuses to avoid your sister’s second wedding: “When is it going to be Halloween again? I want to be Boss Baby!”

Uncle Elliot, the used car salesman: “How much did you pay for that tiny car?”
Remembering the Zip car you took: “My friend Sophia has all of the dolls. I only have one.”

Mom, after you called her every day for a week: “Why don’t you call me more often?”
You, succeeding in not crushing the cell phone in your fist as you answer: “Is today a school day?”

Uncle Nolan’s wife, staring at Uncle Nolan: “Good luck on that interview. Don’t do what Uncle Nolan did.”
You, starting to do repetitive squats: “I have to go number two in the potty.”

Cousin Bruce’s girlfriend holding up three fingers: “Don’t you think you’ve had enough to drink?”
You, holding up all five fingers on both hands: “Can I have five more straws?”

Your mother’s neighbor, pointing to her ring finger: “Why aren’t you married yet?”
You, trying not to give her the middle finger: “I’m not tired. [Yawn.] NOT. TIRED.”

Aunt Martina, reaching for your belly: “Oh! Are you pregnant? Are you having twins? You look like it.”
You, pulling up your yoga pants and tugging your shirt down: “Mommy told me that babies don’t come from storks. Will you tell me where they come from?”

First cousin Rebecca, pointing to her brood of five arguing over a video game: “How do you know you don’t want lots of kids? You have to get started, STAT!”
You, with your arms crossed: “I want to go on a roller coaster!”


Chloe has parenting related essays recently published in McSweeney’s and Scary Mommy. Her poetry chapbook, Unrest, was published by Finishing Line Press (2013). She teaches writing online at University of Maryland University College, in-person at Politics and Prose bookstore in D.C., as well as privately. While she’s a resident of Washington, D.C., she’s in Florence, Italy, this academic year. She blogs at