I like my people with a little spice. I don’t want to spend my time with boring people.
Luckily, my kids have a lot of sugar to go with their spice. I secretly love my children’s mischievous sides. Even though they make me want to tear my hair out half the time, my kids are pretty amusing.
In a mom’s group I was part of in the past, the mentor mom shared a story that has stuck with me through the years. The story was that a mother came into her kitchen to discover that her children had spread flour everywhere. Flour on the floors, the counter tops, all over the children. A great big mess.
She said there are two types of moms: One who gets upset and overwhelmed by the chaos and yells at her kids for making it. And the kind of mom who says “Don’t move a muscle, let me grab my camera.”
I want to be the mom who runs to grab her camera. I can just imagine through the years all the laughter those pictures would bring. There are a lot of those moments in parenting that make me feel like I want to cry. When I share the story with others later, I realize how funny that moment was.
I try — the key word being “try” — to think about things through the frame of, “Will this matter five years from now?”
My youngest child, Eleanor, celebrated her third birthday last spring. Everyone talks about the terrible twos, and I agree the twos can be rough. But in my parenting experience, it is hands down the terrible threes that make you feel crazy.
Something about that stage turns my little two-year-old tantrum throwers into sassy, uncooperative, independence-seeking maniacs. The fits and screaming ratchet up past the level you thought you couldn’t handle anymore into a whole new level of what I like to think of as a parenting “growth period.”
Several months before Eleanor’s third birthday, I could feel her step up her level of mischief. She climbed everything, got into everything and got a lot of bumps and scrapes along the way. I remember one day in particular where she scratched her face with a pencil, pulled a drawer out into her face, and slid down a rock, scraping her poor little belly with barnacles. We were both exhausted at the end of that day.
Around that time, she figured out how to climb up on the bathroom vanity and play in the sink. One day after getting her feet sandy, I came in to find her sitting on the counter with her feet in the sink. The water was running, and she was cheerfully cleaning her feet with her brother’s toothbrush.
A couple of days later, I heard Eleanor screaming and crying from our upstairs playroom. I charged up the stairs, yelling at my nine year-old-son Dawson, “Why is she crying? What did you guys do?”
I asked why Eleanor was screaming at them. Dawson said, “Because we were trying to get her out of the sink.” Out of the sink? I walked into the bathroom, and Eleanor was sitting in the sink, water running, with all of her clothes on, taking a “bath.”
She was so happy about it, running her arm under the water, enjoying her bath. Though it would be about the third outfit change for the day, I couldn’t get past her adorableness.
“Stay right there,” I said and sprinted downstairs to get my phone.
At that moment, I was the mom who ran for her camera. I now have a precious video of that memory. The rewards far outweigh the cleanup.
Susan Collins of Poulsbo writes that her family is not very religious, but her daughter’s grandparents are. They make the sign of the cross before every meal. When Susan’s daughter, Teagan, was about 8 years old, she asked her mother why “Mema” and Papa were always doing the Macarena.
When her son, Austin, was about 3, Suzanne Tapper of Poulsbo was making dinner when the smoke detector went off.
“Dinner’s done,” Austin said without skipping a beat.
At 4, Suzanne’s niece, Ada, began calling the kitty litter box the “glitter box.”
“(It) makes the job sound much more fun,” Suzanne said.
Suzanne’s son, Jackson, 6, has a few phrases that she enjoys. When it is foggy outside, Jackson says it’s “soggy” outside. Instead of apple crisp, Jackson calls it “apple Chris” because his dad’s name is Chris. And once when Chris was “forced” and had to stay at work, Jackson told everyone that his dad wasn’t there because he got “divorced.”
Shauna Banning of Bellevue wrote that her son, Kingston, 9, heard the new Rihanna song “Wild Thoughts.” The song says, “When I’m with you, all I get is wild thoughts.”
Kingston thought the song said, “When I’m with you, all I get is waffles.”
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.