Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Things My Kids Say

One of the best baby shower gifts I ever received was a small, blank journal entitled, “My Quotable Kid.” Each page has a place to list a child’s name, the date, the place, and something funny or memorable that he or she said. When I received it, I had no idea how much it would be used or how much I would cherish it. I had no idea that both of my children would be so well-spoken, so wise, and so hysterically funny.

I also love the way the book allows me to look back and see how my children’s thoughts about the world and their ways of expressing themselves have changed and grown over time. One of my son’s earliest quotes is from a day when he had just broken yet another toy, and my husband asked him in frustration, “Ryan, why do you always break things?!?” and he responded, in a very matter of fact voice, “Because they’re breakable.” We should have known right then and there that this would be a practical, sensible, no-nonsense kind of kid who always comes up with logical answers to things. So it’s not surprising that a year later, when we were in the car on the way to a friend’s house and he asked if we were on a highway and we told him no, he said quietly to himself, “Oh, we’re on a low-way.”

His logical problem-solving skills continued to come out over the following months and years, as recorded in conversations like this one:

R: “Mama, come and play with me!”
Me: “As soon as I finish putting this load of laundry in.”
R: “No, now!”
Me: “What will you do when we have no clean clothes to wear?”
R: [thinks for a moment] “I will go upstairs and swim in the bathtub.”

Sometimes, logic and hilarity cross over, as in this conversation:
[crash from the next room; cue my daughter Katie wailing]
Me: “What happened, guys?”
R: “We crashed.”
Me: “Ask Katie if she’s okay.”
R: “Katie, are you okay?”
K: [wails loudly]
R: “I guess that would be a ‘no’.”

Or the time when he was 5, and we went to a restaurant where they have a big basket of shelled peanuts to snack on. I offered him a handful that I had already shelled, and he looked at them in surprise and asked, “Oh, are these the kind with no lid?” Or the time when he was admiring his grown-up cousin’s fancy pedicure and he solemnly informed her that he liked her toenail disguises. Or the time when he was jumping off the couch into a stuffed chair and nearly face-planted into the TV, then announced, “Well, I guess I haven’t worked the kinks out yet.” Logic and hilarity.

His younger sister isn’t quite the deep thinker that he is, but she comes up with some equally hilarious commentary, much of which is, not surprisingly, influenced by having (and trying to keep up with) a big brother. For example, she was watching Star Wars with her brother, and I asked her who the big hairy guy was. She confidently informed me, “That’s Toboggan the Whoopie.” I also suspect her brother’s influence in the time she asked me if I would play “Shooting and Ladders” with her.

Sometimes she does sneak a bit of logic in with her hilarity, though. Like the time I left the room and came back to find her stark naked except for her diaper. I asked her what happened to her shirt, and without missing a beat, she said, “It ran away.” Or the time she looked at a wedding photo of me and told me I looked like Jesus. I asked her, “Oh, because I’m wearing a long white dress?” She all but rolled her eyes at me as she corrected me: “No! Because of the thing on your head!” Logic and hilarity.

But some of the best quotes from this book aren’t the ones that are logical or the ones that are hilarious. They’re the ones that touch my heart, the ones that get me right in the feels. They’re the ones that remind me of the innocent sweetness of young children. And they’re usually the ones that seem to come out of the clear blue, with little or no context. Comments like the time my son randomly informed me, “Mom, if I had kids, I would love them just as much as you love me.” Or the time he saw an ad for the nursing home placement service called “A Place for Mom,” and he patted my hand as he told me, “Maybe I will call ‘A Place for Mom’ for you when you are old.” Or the time my daughter had a cold and I helped her blow her nose and she quietly hugged me and said, “Thanks, Mom. You’re a very good mommy.” Or the time she suddenly shouted at the top of her lungs, “I NEED A KISS!!!! RIGHT NOW!!!!” and after I raced over to kiss her, she calmly told me, “Thanks, Mum.”

Those are the little moments that I’m sure at the time that I’ll remember forever, and yet in all the business of life and all the continuing changes and maturity of my children I somehow manage to forget. So I love having this little book to look back on and remind me of those sweet moments. 

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