Out of the mouths of babes

Do your kids crack you up? How many times have you chuckled at the amusing things they have said?

When my children were little, especially ages 3- 8 they said funny things every day.  They were often comical because they arrived at conclusions based on their observations and their very limited knowledge.  They were trying to make sense of their world.   The world is very complicated with words which have multiple meanings.   Sometimes this results in uproarious declarations.IMG_3410

Parents of young children have very busy lives.  Even as a twenty-something I knew if I did not write it down, no matter how amazing or endearing it was, I would forget it.   I frequently wrote notes or information on slips of paper and threw them in the drawer containing their baby books.  Later, sometimes much later, that bit of information would actually be entered into the baby book, but without the notes, their books would have been rather empty.

I had the same problem with “funny things”.  I knew I wanted a record of them.  I kept a small journal easily reachable in the drawer in the kitchen.  My bedroom nightstand would have been a safer location, but it would have gotten lost under a stack of old greeting cards and random stuff.   The one and only unstuffed kitchen drawer worked well.

I would write in the journal as soon as possible.  Repeating the saying to spouse or grandparents also helped me retain the information and they enjoyed hearing about it, but I would still forget unless I wrote it down.   As my children aged they enjoyed and laughed at the things they said when they were younger.

The following are a few of my favorite entries:

4 kidsJan. 14, 88 – Momma told Tommy (age 4 1/2) he was good looking and someday the girls would be after him.  He said, “I’ll go out with them and then dump them with a dump truck.”    (Tom married his first girlfriend after dating for 5 years and they are presently expecting their 6th child)

July 21, 88 – David, age 5, said to momma at bedtime, “Men know more than women.”  “What do you mean?  I asked.  “Men know more about women than women know about men.”  (David married at age 21 and has two daughters)

1/8/89 – Debra, age 4, looking out the window at the big pine trees said, “Look, Ma, hotdogs in the trees.  We can climb up there and eat them. “    (Debra is still willing to climb a tree or eat hotdogs.)

1/4/87 – Danny, age 8, said, “Tonight was the best church service  I was ever in.” “Why?” asked Mom.  “Because I could read all the words in the hymnal.”      (Dan is a pastor in a church without hymnals.)

Mar. 2001 – Seth, age 5, said, “I know when I want to get married – June 1st when I am in college.” Why, asked mom.  “It’s close to Christmas.”  ( Seth is 21, in college and single.)

I wish I had written down more of the great things my children said.  Perhaps you would like to record more than just the witty announcements.  Outlandish statements, anecdotal examples of their character, or maybe declarations of future careers could be included.  You probably are already taking lots of photos with your phone, write some notes too.

There are numerous online sources through which one could inexpensively and simply print quotes and add adorable pics in a bound book format.   It could be a sentimental keepsake, golden or teen birthday or high school graduation gift

The format is inconsequential, just write it down somewhere.  You will always be glad you did.

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Free Entertainment

Are you constantly trying to figure out what to do with your children?  Are you searching for good ideas of things to do with them?  Do they have too much time on their hands?  Is summer dragging on?  Are they begging you to take them somewhere or do something with them?

You do not need or have to be a cruise director or a free entertainment committee for your children.   One of your parenting hats is not concierge.  Your job is not to keep them constantly engaged in activities.

Yes, please plan some fun activities to do with your children.  But do not do so all day or every day.  Playing is important work for children. They need some down time too.  Down time does not need to equal screen time. They need to use their creativity to make their own entertainment.  Their imaginations may surprise them.13528782_1068874339865950_646158366432066594_n

“I’m bored.  I have nothing to do.  What can I do?”  My children rarely said these words to me because I always had many ideas for them.  Most of my ideas for conquering boredom involved doing household chores.  Instead, I told them to use their imaginations and find someone (a sibling, a neighbor, or a friend) with whom they could play.  I also encouraged lots of outdoor play except in extreme or dangerous weather conditions.  Yes, my children got quite dirty most days and often had minor injuries from play.  We all survived.

in a treeToday’s child generally has a plethora of toys with which to play.  Help them have a balance of indoor and outdoor toys.  Legos seem to be an inside only toy because of the easily lost tiny pieces, but many other toys are suitable for outside play.  I suggest a  supply of bikes, roller blades, skate boards, all kinds of balls, golf clubs, cones, bats, a swing set, a tree rope, and even, guns (see My battle Against Guns:   https://dianesergeant.wordpress.com/2016/06/24/my-battle-against-guns/) with which to play.

 

There was one area in which I failed to follow my own advice.  I often (perhaps too often) found myself driving one of more of my children to the home of a friend or a cousin or picking up a playmate for playtime.  I may not have planned their specific activities but I was involved in helping them reach their destinations.   When they were old enough and the distance could be reached safely, I encouraged bicycling.

Disclaimer: When my grandchildren come to visit me, I do plan many activities just for them. We stay extremely busy for the few days we have together without their parents.  I recently had four grandsons with me for four days.  We went to a beach, visited a waterfall in which we played, went canoeing, roasted marshmallows, went swimming, played games, watched some movies and played mini-golf.  We had a blast without spending much money.  But even with them, there was some time that they just entertained themselves.  One evening they played a game which they created; beanie baby freeze tag.  I really don’t know what the rules were even though I watched them playing.

How does your child keep occupied?  Do they play alone or with siblings or neighbors?

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My Favorite Child

Were you the favorite child of your parents?  Did you think they liked you best because of who you were or what you did?   I hope you have had a playful argument with your siblings in whom each one claimed they are the favorite and can even provide anecdotal evidence to prove it.

I also hope you have never had the feeling that you were not the favorite.  Yet, sadly, I know that this happens every day.  It doesn’t make sense.  It is not right.  It is not fair. I think it may not even be a conscious effort.  But it happens and I cannot explain it. I am sorry if this has been your experience and I hope that it will change.

4 kids I do know there were days and times when I was not pleased with a particular child and even had times when I did not “like” one of my own children.  But I still deeply loved them and that is what I clung to when I was unhappy with their (pick any one of the following: behavior, attitude, choices, character, anger, outbursts, tantrums, language, etc ).   I think every parent goes through this struggle at some point because they do not have perfect children and they are not perfect parents.

 

I do know that true favoritism in a family is not good.  It can cause great harm to the not chosen.  It can instigate jealousy and resentment between siblings.  It can permanently divide families.

Last weekend my youngest son, age 21, and I were discussing a Bible lesson he was preparing for some teenagers.  His text was from Genesis 37, which is the introduction to the story of Joseph and his 11 brothers.  Joseph was Dad’s favorite and this nearly cost him his life.  Our discussion reminded me of a poem I read years ago and was able to find.  Thank you, google.

MY FAVORITE CHILD – BY ERMA BOMBECK

Every mother has a favorite child.  She cannot help it.  She is only human.  I have mine – the child for whom I feel a special closeness, with whom I share a love that no one else could possibly understand.  My favorite child is the one who was too sick to eat ice cream at his birthday party – who had measles at Christmas – who wore leg braces to bed because he toed in – who had a fever in the middle of the night, the asthma attack, the child in my arms at the emergency ward.

My favorite child spent Christmas alone away from the family, was stranded after the game with a gas tank on E, lost the money for his class ring.

My favorite child is the one who messed up at the piano recital, misspelled committee in a spelling bee, ran the wrong way with the football, and had his bike stolen because he was careless.

My favorite child is the one I punished for lying, grounded for insensitivity to other people’s feelings, and informed he was a royal pain to the entire family.

My favorite child slammed the doors in frustration, cried when she didn’t think I saw her, withdrew and said she could not talk to me.

My favorite child always needed a haircut, had hair that wouldn’t curl, had no date for Saturday night, and a car that cost $600 to fix.  My favorite child was selfish, immature, bad-tempered, and self-centered.  He was vulnerable, lonely, unsure of what he was doing in the world, and quite wonderful.

All mothers have their favorite child.  It is always the same one: the one who needs you at the moment.  Who needs you for whatever reason – to cling to, to shout at, to hurt, to hug, to flatter, to reverse charges to, to unload on – but mostly just to be there.

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I suggest we follow Erma’s example for choosing a favorite.  My poem version would be something like this:

My favorite child is the one who brought head lice home.  It is the one who jumped off the roof.  It is the one who totaled their car, the one we left behind, the one that needed to held daily.

My favorite child is the one wearing a cast again or the one whose best friend is moving away.  It is the one struggling to read and the one who is afraid to drive.

My favorite child is the one who just talked with me for an hour or with whom I have had an argument.  It is the one I am with.