Recently my kids all had a day off school, which meant we didn’t have to rush around on our usual weekday schedule. We enjoyed the quiet morning at home.
I don’t know what your caffeine requirements are, but I am a decent mom after a cup of coffee and a great mom after two. A little quiet time doesn’t hurt either. So I asked Dawson, 9, to play with Eleanor, 3, while I had coffee time.
They played together for a few minutes and then he took her into the kitchen. I came in to see what they were doing, and Dawson was buttering a piece of bread for her while she was sitting at the table waiting. He was so proud of himself for making breakfast for his baby sister.
As per Eleanor’s order, he made her chocolate milk, too. Eleanor loves to help, so she tried to hand him the lid to her cup.
“Oh, thank you, sweetie,” he said. “But I don’t need the lid yet.”
I loved the way he said that so kindly to her. I realized that is exactly what I would have told her. Of all the things I’ve said through the years I’m happy that’s the spirit of my words that he has absorbed.
When Violet, 5, came downstairs, Dawson made her breakfast, too. He even made his breakfast and a piece of toast for me.
I sat on the stool in my kitchen watching the dynamic of my children interacting in this way. The girls sat so nicely at the table waiting for their breakfasts from their big brother, that never happens for me. They asked for seconds and even thirds, that rarely happens when I make breakfast. It must be my cooking. They adore him, and he enjoyed taking care of them and helping me.
I am so proud of him for many things. But that was a moment where I got to see that the hard work of parenting is more than worth the effort.
Erin Raatz, of Fort Wayne, Ind., is the mother of Levi, 4 and Henry, 18 months.
“Allie (their dog) ate all my food,” Levi said crying at the table.
“Did she get on the table,” Erin asked.
“No,” Levi said. “I threw it on the floor, and she ate it all.”
“Why did you throw your food on the floor,” Erin asked.
“I didn’t,” he said. “My plate did.”
After that incident, Erin knew it was going to be “one of those days.”
On another day, Erin found Levi working on his “artwork.”
“Levi! Why are you coloring on my walls,” she said.
“I thought you said you wanted a green house,” he said.
Every parent is happy to hear their child begin to talk, but Erin learned another reason to be thankful for her 18-month-old, Henry’s language development.
Henry pointed above his mother’s head and yelled, “bug, bug.”
Erin looked up to see a spider dangling inches above her head.
Leslie Kelly, of Bainbridge Island, fondly remembers a time when her nephew, Riley, had a fascination with Superman. Riley was about 4 at the time and wore his Superman costume as often as his mother would allow.
“And he had a Clark Kent outfit that he sometimes wore over the Superman cape, because, well, Clark was important to him, too,” Leslie said.
Riley was a toe head blonde and one morning he came out to the living room all ready for school in his Superman outfit. However, his mother was surprised to find he had a washcloth on his head. When she asked him about it he insisted that he be allowed to wear it to school, so she didn’t push it.
When they got to school, Riley ran off to play with his friends and his mom told his teacher that she was perplexed about the washcloth.
“Oh, that’s an easy one,” the teacher said. “Yesterday the other boys told him he couldn’t be the real Superman because he didn’t have brown hair.”
Eventually, Riley settled on a wig.
Candace Mangold, of Port Townsend, has two boys, Halen, 5, and Holland, 3. Both boys like the same TV shows but they both want to control the remote. This usually leads to a daily scream fest over who should hold the remote. That morning Holland was sick of it.
Candace watched Holland hide under the coffee table in the other room away from the TV. He had a remote in his hands, but not the one for channel surfing.
“I watched him play around with the remote for a few and then sneak behind the recliner and point the remote at the tv real quick while Halen yells, ‘HEY! What’s going on’,” she said.
Holland taught himself how to use the master remote and shut off the TV altogether while his brother was engrossed in his show.
“Pretty clever,” she said. “Way to go, lil bro! Warrior on.”
I would love to hear your funny kid stories, so please send them my way. Parents, teachers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and people who love children, please send your stories and cute kid photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.
Quinn Ward is a former journalist living in Poulsbo. She has been recording the amazing and outrageous things her kids say since they have been able to talk.