21 Questions That Changed My Life

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

The best-laid plans are doomed to fail.

As you may or may not know, I began 2015 with the goal of painting/drawing a coffee cup each and every day for the entire year.


Three hundred and sixty-five cups!


I was chugging along... drawing, painting, Tweeting, Facebooking and Instagramming - well on my way to completing month two of the project - when I did something that would forever change the course of history. Well, not YOUR history. Just mine, mostly.

I came across a note on a friend’s Facebook page.

The note was called 21 Questions to Ask Your Child and like a happy-go-lucky puppy, I did it.

Here's how my daughter responded...
1. What is something I always say to you? 

I love you.

2. What makes me happy?

I make you happy.

3. What makes me sad? 

When I get hurt.

4. How do I make you laugh?

By dancing funny.

(I don't try to dance funny, but whatever.)

5. What was I like as a child?

I wouldn’t know.

6. How old am I?

I don’t know... 27?

(I love this kid.)

7. How tall am I?


So far so good, right? I was smiling and thinking about how much fun this was and how it would be so great to get in the habit of asking my daughter these 21 questions every few years - or months.

But then, things deteriorated. Quickly.

8. What is my favorite thing to do?


9. What do I do when you're not around? 


10. If I become famous, what will it be for?


11. What am I really good at? 


12. What am I not very good at? 

Playing with me.

When I asked my daughter why she felt that way, she replied, "Because you work all the time."

At this point, I felt the pain of a thousand daggers puncturing my heart.

13. What do I do for my job?

You work. You write, but mostly you paint coffee cups.

This is when the needle scratched the record, the nails ran across the chalkboard and the theme song from Growing Pains started running through my head.

The thing is, I really don't have a lot of extra hours in my day. I work from home and I usually have a million things on the go at any given moment. My writing usually takes place after my kiddo is asleep or before she wakes up. But, the fact of the matter is, that in order for my coffee cup project to be successful, I had to steal time away from somewhere - or rather - someone. 

As it happened, I had been stealing time from my 6 year old kid.

As I choked back the tears, I made a decision right then and there to make a change. But not before finishing the quiz…

14. What is my favorite food?


(She doesn’t know about all the chocolate I consume while hiding in the bathroom.)

15. What makes you proud of me?

We look the same.  

(Note to self: teach child the meaning of the word proud.)

16. If I was a cartoon character, who would I be?

A mother cat.

(I really don’t like cats but she loves them, so there’s that.)
17. What do you and I do together? 


(Yeah that's right. Mother of the Year, here I come).

18. How are you and I alike? 

We look the same. We both work.

(That work thing again.)

19. How are you and I different?

Our eyes are a different color.

20. How do you know I love you?

You tell me. You hug me all the time.

21. Where is my favorite place to go?

Florida Or maybe Wendy’s.

(Of course! Because, poutine. This kid knows me. Too well. )
So, here's the thing, instead of a painting #ACoffeeADay,  I’ve been painting a coffee only when I have a few spare moments here and there that don't take away from what precious time I have available to hang out with my kid.

I thought about renaming the project but the hashtag would be a real bitch to remember.

No, really.


By the way, if you are prepared for the answers, here are the 21 Questions You Should Ask Your Kid(s).

  1. What is something mommy always says to you?
  2. What makes mommy happy? 
  3. What makes mommy sad?
  4. How does mommy make you laugh?
  5. What was mommy like as a child?
  6. How old is mommy?
  7. How tall is mommy?
  8. What is mommy's favorite thing to do?
  9. What does mommy do when you're not around?
  10. If mommy becomes famous, what will it be for?
  11. What is mommy really good at?
  12. What is mommy not very good at?
  13. What does mommy do for her job?
  14. What is mommy's favorite food?
  15. What makes you proud of mommy?
  16. If mommy were a cartoon character, who would she be?
  17. What do you and mommy do together?
  18. How are you and mommy alike?
  19. How are you and mommy different?
  20. How do you know mommy loves you?
  21. Where is mommy's favorite place to go?

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