Recently had a funny moment. I was taking photos, (this was one of them) as I tend to do, and a very nice young woman with a little girl walked by. They were obviously visitors to our town. The woman asked me directions. Of course I answered her and we chatted a moment. Then the mother asked the child who was hiding behind her mother, "Isn't the water pretty?" The youngster peeped around her mothers skirt at the water skeptically and after a moment said emphatically, "No". I assumed that maybe the girl was intimidated by the water and perhaps didn't know how to swim or feared what might be lurking in the water. The mother, clearly surprised, asked, " Why isn't it pretty?" The little one looked at her mother in surprise, big innocent eyes open wide and responded, "well it's all wrinkly, isn't it?". The mother looked so embarrassed but I could only chuckle. You never know what a child is thinking or what they are going to say.
And it took me back years to when my own children were very young. There were so many moments that had me agog. Sometimes embarrassing, sometimes enlightening, sometimes thought provoking, but always surprising.
One that I will never forget. I was shopping in a local store, similar to a Walmart. As always, I had all three boys with me, the youngest in the "baby-seat" up front near me and the other two in the basket. I was looking for birthday cards. I generally try to buy a months worth at a time to stay ahead of the game. When you have to shop with three little boys, generally you do it as infrequently as possible. They were behaving exceptionally well especially when you consider how boring this must have been for them. There weren't many people yet in that part of the store, the boys and I at one end of the card aisle, a group of older gentlemen at the other end. I was only vaguely aware of the group, they weren't looking for cards but were talking and laughing amongst themselves. I had several cards already in my hands and was considering another when I heard my oldest boy say accusingly, in his outside voice, "Hey which one of you guys farted?". Everything and everyone in the entire store froze for a millisecond, I swear. Then I moved. I shoved the cards back into the rack randomly, whipped that carriage around and nearly flew down the aisle toward the exit throwing apologies over my shoulder. The group of older men laughed so hard I was afraid they would need to sit down and my little accuser called out as we dashed away, "Well? Who was it?" I'm sure I was bright red with embarrassment.
Sometimes it isn't even what the children say, it's what they do. Tim and I were very amused to watch in an Italian restaurant a large group of adults with one lone child, around a year old..maybe a wee bit more. The adults were enjoying their meal and conversation and the child left to entertain himself. Entertain he did. Very quietly, without making a bit of fuss, one strand at a time, he draped his spaghetti, first over the arms of his highchair, carefully lining each side and then his own head and eventually his arms and legs. Clearly he was decorating. Finally his mother glanced over at him and shrieked. It was an awful sound. Like cats fighting in an alley. Honestly her screaming and fussing was far more disruptive than his decorating. And of course, it was all due to her embarrassment. She was the colour of the spaghetti sauce.
Other times it's what we find ourselves saying. In fact it happened so often that my sister and I, at one time, talked about writing a book we would have called, "Things I never thought I'd say". Things like the time that as we were checking out at a store, boys again in the carriage, as I'm trying to pay for the transaction but the clerk's eyes were focused on the carriage with a look or horror on her face instead of taking the money. I glanced briefly at the carriage and said, "Honey don't lick the counter", just as calmly as if I'd said it was a sunny day, paid the bill and we left.
Turns out there was already a Very Funny Book called, "Kids say the Darndest things" by Art Linkletter based on a television show that he hosted. I've read the book, it is hysterical.
Children force you to become nonchalant about their shenanigans at some point. After awhile, after you've washed a frog that was left in a pocket by accident, after you've walked into the kitchen to find the entire surface of the floor covered with flour, sugar, salt and corn meal and a little boy in the middle of it running his trucks through it, after you've rescued a cat from a "haircut', after washing gum or paint or pine sap or bird poop out of their hair, after stopping them from drinking bubble soap, after washing enough crayon marks off of enough walls, it becomes old hat, no big deal, just another ordinary day.
Now that enough time has passed that it's not quite so ordinary for me anymore (except in memory), now I can laugh. I can watch the interplay and chuckle, giggle, guffaw, and sometimes laugh until I cry.
Kids are just the absolute best things ever. They do things that would never occur to us, they say what they think and they think the most unusual things. It makes sense really. Everything we take as ordinary is brand new to them. And I do love seeing the world all over again for the first time, through their eyes.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.