Kids and parenting can throw you some curveballs. You would think that we would be a little more prepared for the crazy stuff that gets thrown at us as parents, because after all, we were kids once too. When I really stop and think about it, I can remember doing some crazy, completely illogical things when I was little, but when I had a child of my own I suddenly forget how normal the bizarre is.
When I was about 8 years old I can remember my mom commanding my little brother and me to stop climbing over the hood and tops of my parents’ cars in the driveway for our obstacle course. I can also remember my mom asking my little brother why he would put the cat in the clothes dryer. The funniest thing about both of these situations is that I can remember being boggled at why those things would be a problem for her. I couldn’t see at that young age what the big deal was.
It can be very important and liberating to take a moment and step back from how ludicrous some of the things our kids do are and just laugh at them. To detach and just see them as they are, can help us remember and gain the perspective we need to realize that much of the crazy things our kids do, we also did. When we struggle to understand what could possibly be going through our children’s heads, try to think back to what was going through yours when you did something similar. Let yourself laugh in the moment and enjoy the spontaneity of youth rather than only seeing the humor in retrospect.
The following 10 things are all things that I have actually said to my children that I never expected I would ever have to say to another human being:
1. Please don’t sit on his head! This is actually a pretty common phrase around our home. My first 3 kids are boys and they love to wrestle and rough house. More often than not, someone ends up sitting on someone’s head. I’ve tried to make it clear to them that contrary to the popular belief of young boys, heads are not for sitting on.
2. Don’t lick the sidewalk! We have a great ice-cream parlor close to our house and that is usually our treat of choice in the summer time. One evening I took the kids out for ice-cream. As we walked out of the store into the Idaho summer heat, a portion of my youngest son’s ice-cream dropped onto the sidewalk. I didn’t see it happen at first, but he asked me to hold his cone and I didn’t object. Next thing I know, I turn around and he is on his hands and knees licking the ice-cream off the ground. That’s when it came out of my mouth.
3. Why did you pee in the heater vent? Yeah, I couldn’t believe this one either. One Saturday morning I was in my boys’ room playing Legos with them and noticed the heater vent cover was off the vent. I causally asked why? My second son quickly announced, as if he were telling me the color of a crayon, “Cuylar peed in the vent.” At first I thought he was joking and I said, “No way…?” Then Cuylar unabashedly said, “Yep, I did.”
4. Get the Legos out of your pants. Legos are a favorite toy and activity at our house. Sometimes there are conflicts about who has what guy or piece. The boys try to find ways to save or hide the hard to find pieces for their greatest creations. One day I overheard the boys arguing over a special Lego piece they both wanted. I tried not to get in the middle of it but pretty soon my oldest son said, “Dad, Eli won’t give me the pieces I had.” I couldn’t see any Lego pieces in sight and simply asked them to work it out.” I could see that Eli had a funny look on his face and I couldn’t help but stick my nose into the situation. I said, “Hey Eli, did you hide those pieces?” He looked at me funny and then reached into his pants to retrieve the pieces. That is when it came out, “Get the Legos out of your pants.”
5. Don’t throw that brick at your brother. My kids love to go outside and play on our country pasture land behind our house. When we first moved into our home we had a lot of junk in the yard and we have always had a dirt pile for the kids to dig and play in. One day when we were all outside playing and working in the yard, I looked up from my yard work just in time to catch my son with a brick raised above his head, ready to throw it at his little brother. Luckily I intervened in time and no one was hurt. When we talked to him later, it was clear at his age that it had never occurred to him that the brick might have hurt his brother.
6. Books are for reading, not walking on. This is one of those funny things that adults don’t understand. Most adults, when we walk through a room with items on the floor, try to avoid stepping on them. Kids on the other hand see books and clothing and other items as lily pads. Often they seem to step on every single item on the floor even when they are not trying to.
7. I would appreciate if you didn’t climb up the walls or the rain gutter. My oldest son climbs on everything. Several times we have caught him scaling the rain gutter to get on the roof. One of his favorite things is to put his hands on one side of the hall and his feet on the other and scale up the walls like Spiderman. It seems self-evident that walls are not for climbing to me, but that concept does not seem to make sense to him.
8. Please don’t put your hands in your poop. It’s funny, this is one of those things that seems like it goes without saying, but I have had to say it to each one of my children when changing their diapers. You un-strap the diaper and almost immediately they show a great curiosity for what is going on in their diaper.
9. If you’re going to tie him up, you need to untie him eventually as well. My boys love to play cops and robbers along with a million other make-believe games that require someone getting tied up with rope or string. They always go into it voluntarily, but generally someone ends up stuck somewhere yelling for help to get untied. Sometimes they forget, other times they just refuse to untie each other, but for some reason they all want to do it again another day. That’s when I offer the statement of wisdom above.
10. I don’t appreciate your feet in my face. Eli, my second son is one of the cuddliest people I have ever met. However, he also likes to be upside down a lot which results in his feet being in my face when he comes to cuddle me. It never occurred to him that hugs and cuddles upright are any different than hugs and cuddles with his feet where his head should be.
Although each of these statements are things that I never thought I’d have to say to another human being, each one makes me smile as I write it. Each one represents the quirkiness and personalities of my individual kids and I love them. They make me smile and laugh.
Have you ever had to say anything like these statements? I’m willing to bet that every one of you has said something every bit as irrational as the 10 statements above. We would love to hear the statements that you never thought you would have to say to another person and the story that goes with it.
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