I must admit, I think I'm getting pretty good at this. It only took me three tries and a couple of minutes (instead of hours) to find out why my son was bloody today.
I was picking up "the three" at school and noticed that Orangeboy had blood on his chin and his shirt. I decided to face the challenge and try to find out what it was about. So, as we were standing on the walk waiting for his brother and sister to come out of the school, I asked Orangeboy, "What happened to your chin?"
From him I got, "Hmmm.." and a turned-away face.
Obviously, this was the wrong question. These days, I have finally learned that he's not being stubborn, or trying to make up a lie, when he doesn't answer. It's just that I often ask the wrong question and he CAN'T very well answer the WRONG QUESTION, now can he?!
I bravely made a second attempt: "How did you get hurt?"
This time he ducked his chin and took a step away from me. So I know I'm WAY off base.
I reconsider the clues. Maybe he doesn't know he hurt his chin... maybe it didn't hurt...
Then - a spark! Maybe it's not his chin!
So, since he's a boy who likes the facts and just the facts, I decided to state a fact, follow with an open question, and see how he dealt with it. This is my third attempt and it could be my last chance.
"Son, there is blood on your chin and on your shirt. How did that happen?"
(Whew! I almost slipped up and asked, "Do you know how that happened?" That would have been terrible because I probably would have gotten a "yes" or "no" and no more!)
His chin lifted a bit. (Hooray!) He lifted his hand and opened his mouth to speak...
"It's probably from this, (indicating his thumb) from chewing on it."
Sure enough, there was a noticeable little gap near the corner of the reddened nailbed where he must have been doing some ferocious chewing that day.
I was so elated that I had solved the blood mystery so quickly that I didn't even think about what might have made him anxious enough to do all that chewing.