According to Erma Bombeck, famous author and expert on the family, three: It takes one to say, “"What light?" and two more to say, "I didn't turn it on."” She's also the wise woman who said, "Never have more children than you have car windows." Like...totally.
Can you relate? If you’re children are young, you can. But that’s OK. What goes around comes around. They will some day have children of their own, and then we can stand back, as grandparents, and get the last laugh (at our grown children). And the beat goes on. We will always have children that will provide humor in our lives no matter what their age (insert evil laugh here). Anyway, I’ve decided to get back to my original quest to do a column on the "how tos" and joys of" parenting; today’s version being the “joys of” variety.
My next blog will have a more serious overtone: “What Causes Juvenile Delinquency?” Last year, I started a series on “Tough Love” and still want to continue it, but got away from the subject when the juvenile boot camp program I was working for didn’t get renewed by the state (it was a grant program). But until then, I think starting with the best part of raising kids (humor) is in order; especially since paying attention to and enjoying our kids might be one of the remedies for it. Then, I read the comments by Lori Duff concerning the need to laugh at and with life, and thought, “She’s right”. Let’s do it. Let’s start something that can provoke thought about the things that matter and things that don’t…like funny kid stories.
Kid stories serve nothing better than to just laugh at and be amazed by the perceptions of a child. They make us step back for a minute and remember that life is meant to be enjoyed. As hard as life can be at times, I think laughing is a necessity to good mental health, and kids come with a built in supply of it. Seems God assembled that one together quite well to keep our perspective in check when we begin to take life too seriously. Erma Bombeck once said, “If you can't make it better, you can laugh at it.” I agree. Here are a few of my own personal stories that I feel most will relate to, and I hope that after you read these, they will trigger a story or two that you can share.
GOOD GRASP ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SEXES
Chloe (my granddaughter) seems to have a good grasp on the differences between the sexes. We were at a restaurant, and went to the bathroom. There were two doors to choose from, both having a unisex sign on the door (both male and female symbols). We went in the door on the left, and the walls were bright pink! Chloe got confused and asked, “But what happens if boys come in here and think they’re in a girl's bathroom?
I said, “Well, maybe the other bathroom wall is painted green just in case a boy doesn’t like the pink bathroom. Then, they will have a choice.”
She thought for a minute, and said, "I think you’re right, Nannie. Pink is the color of love, so this one must be the girl's bathroom. Green is the color of throw-up, so the other one must be for boys".
ATTENTION ALL PARENTS!
PROOF THAT THEY'VE BEEN DOING IT ON PURPOSE!!!
I had taken my granddaughter to WalMart to look for something. No plans to spend any money, just looking for clothes to start school in, and ready to leave. As we were leaving, Chloe wanted to go to McDonald’s. I had one more place to go, was tired, so said, “Wait til we get home”. Well, she started crying and was still upset when we arrived at the next shopping mall. I ignored her, got out of the car and began walking her down the sidewalk towards another store. Chloe was still crying. I was almost ready to give in and began having thoughts of:
“What if she's really hungry?”
“Maybe I shouldn’t have been so hard on her”.
BUT as we walked down the sidewalk, coming from the other direction, we see a Mom holding the hand of a CRYING KID. Chloe looks up at me, tears still in her eyes, and says (drum roll please),
"Wow Nannie! Look! He's crying because HE’S NOT GETTING HIS WAY EITHER!"
To all of you who are still suffering the teen years - your time is coming - when you're a grandparent. You will have the opportunity for revenge – through THEIR children. My granddaughter Chloe called to tell me she had lost a tooth. Excited, she shouted into the phone,
“NANNIE NANNIE NANNIE! I LOST MY FIRST TOOTH!”
So, she and I talked about the tooth fairy and finding money under your pillow and all the good stuff that goes along with it. But then her joy turned to sadness as she wailed,
“But my Daddy says that the Tooth Fairy only pays in pennies!”
Noticing that the phone is obviously on speaker phone (her cheapskate Daddy was listening), I said,
“Oh Chloe, that’s not true! Your daddy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He must have forgotten, that’s all. In fact, That Tooth Fairy is going to pay you FIVE DOLLARS!"
Chloe: WOW! WOW!WOW!
Daddy (in the background), “Give me the phone, Chloe, give me the phone! I need to talk to Nannie”.
That's what I'm talking about (insert evil laugh here).
ONE THE “THOSE” MOMS? – YOU BET!
After being off of the juvenile bootcamp scene for a few weeks, I was looking forward to vacation and not having to deal with ornery kids. But as fate would have it, I ran into an ornery kid, only this one was pint sized. The big pool in Jekyll Island had a really cool hot tub next to it- I was in it. This kid, about 4 yrs. old, comes over and tells me to move over (excuse me?) because his mom told him that if he had to use the bathroom, he had to go over to the “little” pool (aka hot tub).
I told him he was absolutely NOT going to pee in my pool. He ROLLED HIS EYES and said, “whatever". He has no idea who he’s talking to. He moved towards the step, and I moved a little closer to him. He’s rolling his eyes at a lady in a pink bathing suit, but the drill instructor hat stays on no matter how far you venture from the field; I’m about ready to go “boot camp” on him. Ask any of my grown kids what would happen if they had answered an adult like that when they were young.
Anyway, I told him he needed to go get his mother. He repeated that he could pee in that pool "because my mother told me I could”. I looked at him with the look I used to give my kids, and said,
“You just be glad I’M not your mother!”
He stepped back, and walked away, muttering under his breath, “My mother’s nicer than you!”
I said, (immature, I know), “I...DON’T...CARE”.
I’m an elementary school P.E. teacher. Here are a few P.E. stories from my little peeps.
IT’S ALWAYS THE SIMPLEST THINGS…
A few days ago, a little first grader was banging on the water machine in the back of the gym. I asked her if she was having trouble getting her drink. She nodded, "Yes". I went through a litany of things that could have gone wrong...
"Did you press the buttons?"
"Did you wait long enough?"
Did you shake the change button?
Finally, having exhausted all the possibilities, I asked, "Did you put any money in it?"
Well, alrighty then. Question to self: Why didn’t you ask that first?
THE WORST DAY OF HIS LIFE
A kid brought in a note saying that he had been sick and the parent preferred that he not do anything to exert himself in P.E. As I was reading the note, it dawned on him what day it was. He puts his hands over his face in mock horror, falls to his knees and says,
"Maaaaaan! Its bad enough I've been sick, but what could be worse than my mother sending me a P.E. note on DODGE BALL DAY???
Hey, 4th grade boys have got to keep their priorities straight you know. Dodge ball on friday is why you pay attention in math all week.
I’ve got a ton of stories where those came from but need to end it here for the sake of time. Consequently, I’ll leave you with a few phrases from some famous experts on kids that always make me smile:
No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I'm not talking about the kids. Bill Cosby
When a child is locked in the bathroom with water running and he says he's doing nothing, but the dog is barking, call 911. Erma Bombeck
If your kids are giving you a headache, follow the directions on the aspirin bottle, especially the part that says, "Keep away from children." Susan Savannah
We spend the first twelve months of our children's lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next twelve telling them to sit down and shut up. Phyllis Diller
Final pearls of wisdom from Bill and Erma:
Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.”
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me'.
And on that note, I say….A-men.