Everyone knows kids say the darnedest things. But only parents know how often kids lead you to speak, pause, review what you just said, and wonder at the improbable language required for childrearing. We say insane stuff every day.
When I get the time, I'd like to create a random generator of things parents of young children have either said or will eventually say. All the computer would do is select a random choice from each of these categories:
- Negative mandate (with implied threat) such as "stop trying to, you should never, please do not, never ever, you will go on time-out if you, I'm pulling over and it will be ouchy if I see you," etc.
- Verb for frequent child behaviors, including but not limited to "hit, eat, break, throw, mess up, bite, kick, fuss at, scratch, smash, inhale, cut, splash, lick, pinch, wet, hurt, fight," etc.
- Likely object of verb (usually something sentient, fragile, valuable or totally disgusting): "your sister, me, the carpet, my jewelry box, the kitten, poopoo, sand, peepee, the computer, the family portrait, the curtains, the toilet, your food, bathwater, my papers, the dirty gummy bear from under the car seat," and so forth.
A parent smart enough to program a robot to say these randomly generated bits of wisdom might save volumes of speech. Recording these phrases in one's own voice, randomly putting them together and then playing them at night while the child is sleeping would be a great subliminal preemptive strike on all manner of misdeeds, or at least would allow a parent to later say, with virtual truth, "I told you not to do that!"
Off the top of my head, here are just a few of the really-truly bizarrisms that we can remember saying, unaided by technology:
- Do not eat the Band-Aid you took off your foot.
- Never ever wipe your bottom with the hand towel.
- No biting the chair while on time-out.
- Please do not blow your nose onto the couch/Mommy's dress/the dishtowel.
- Do not go poopoo in the bath tub.
- Do not drink the bath water! It has poopoo in it!
- Your sister/the kitten/Mommy's hair/the power screwdriver is not a toy!
- Please do not ever stick a marble up your nose again.
- Only eat flowers that Daddy tells you to eat.
- No, you may not ride on top of the minivan.
- Stop biting your Cinderella dress.
- You can't wear your Jasmine dress to church.
- Please take off your Snow White dress before taking a bath.
- Do not throw diapers in the toilet.
- Please clean the table with something besides the broom.
- I don't think the kitty wants to eat your raisins.
The list gives you a feel for a day in the life, but is far from exhaustive. And if it were exhaustive today, it would be so no longer by tomorrow. New material is generated as often as our bathroom floor is desecrated by potty-trainers.
I would love to read other weird things parents have said in the line of duty. Maybe I can work them into my random Daddy-talk generator someday!
So, "for real life," as Brielle would say, let's hear them! Please comment away with your own peculiar parental prose!
Michael Bennie writes from California's San Bernardino mountains, where he and his wife, Rachelle, parent their 5-year-old, Brielle, and twin 3-year-olds, Melía and Ashlyn. In his down time, he is a 9th-grade school counselor. He vaguely remembers having hobbies of his own before the princess proliferation, but still squeezes in audio books, a tiny men's Bible study (which, surprisingly, includes no tiny men), dates with Rachelle, random hikes, a spring marathon and a fall 3-day novel. He is mad at the Amish because they have what he wants: peace, community and simplicity. This column was originally posted on his blog.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/717