penny in a castle

A digital chapbook.

Kids say the darndest things

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On a different plane of social media, I have posted more than a few words and bits of wisdom my kids have said over the years.

I’m a mom, so of course, I have zero objectivity on the matter of my kids.

I tend to believe people when they say “Your kids are hilarious! You should write that down! They say the most amazing things!”

But here’s the most amazing thing of all – most kids have really incredible things to say.  I’ve listened to my kids’ friends, my friends’ kids, nieces, nephews, random children in the park.  Pretty much every child on the planet has a unique perspective and they all view the world in a way I have forgotten how to. Everything is being seen in a new way, their way, for the first time.  It makes mundane things exciting and full of wonder.


Kid: Pipe cleaners are SO COOL.

Me: Why is that?

Kid: Because you can twist two together to make an EVEN COOLER pipe cleaner!

Who knew?


It’s also makes small losses and challenges much more difficult and insurmountable at times.


I remember my daughter as a three year old being completely devastated when her cherry tomato dropped into a bucket of gold fish and mud.  She cried like she had lost her best friend and it was the end of the world at the same time.  Never would there be another cherry tomato like that one. Never.


Both joy and frustration are experienced intensely.  To an adult looking on, it can all look like just a bunch of sound and fury.  It’s hard to figure out the something in all that loud seeming to be nothing.

I have to have the time and patience to listen.  To ask questions. Or to give silence space so words can slip in.

But  where can I find that time? It can take forever for the kid to actually get around to saying something.  They say the same thing or ask the same question over and over again (“Whatcha doin?’” is a favourite in our house).  A kids who is excited, or has too much to say, has his brain over loaded and the words stutter to get out. Kids say things that seem nonsensical at first – my kids are well versed in the non sequitur.

I have also noticed some kids take longer and require more effort than others.

For example, my oldest kid is a chatter box.  Wind’er up and she will talk-talk-talk all day long.  You will get a blow-by-blow of what was they had for lunch, the great craft being worked on, and who was mean about not letting them play a game at last recess.

My second kid is completely different.  Ask them what they did that day and “Nothing” is what you will hear. Ask them how things went and you will hear “Fine.”  One day my second child and I were alone for about twenty minutes.  I got “nothinged” and “fined” the entire time no matter how much I tried to engage.  When the oldest came she said breathlessly “You’ll never guess! Midget-Dwarf basket ball players came to our school and taught us how to play basket ball!” I turned to my silent type in disbelief, looking for an answer, and he shrugged, “Yeah, I guess I forgot.”

Over the years, my silent type has learned to say more. What he has to say is exquisitely hilarious and needs to be teased out a bit to be understood.  But it’s well worth the effort.  We’ve had to carefully let our babbler know that the silent kind needs their space too.

On a different note – our third speaks in odd tongues and voices – disconcertingly he can go from Elmo to the Exorcist in moments – who knows in the end what they will say? Or where they will fit into the conversation between the chatter and the silence?

I realize too that I can be the person most unable to hear my own children. I want to give my kids space to speak and to be heard, but there are so many other priorities and distractions taking up the air waves. They catch you at the worst moments when you are busy – say trying to write a first draft of a blog post. Or just deal with something that seems more important at the time.


Kid: Moooommmm.  What am I going to do?

Me: *Checking my blackberry because even though it’s after 5 pm, there is a crisis at work that I simply must attend to.*

Kid:  I’m boorrreeeddd. What can I do?

Me – *still trying to type with thumbs, yet have a meaningful moment with my child* “Yes darling.  I will be with you in a minute.”

Kid: But Mooooooommmm.  What am I going to do?

Me: If I don’t respond to this email RIGHT NOW I am going to lose my job and we will be all tossed into the street with nowhere to live and nothing to eat.  *which feels vaguely true*

Kid: Buuuttt I want you to plaaaay with meeee!

Me: *Distracted* Yes. In a few minutes.

Kid: *sighs and goes on to find a comic book to read*


Even in the frustration of these moments, I aware of the passage of time.  It’s not too far into the future that I know my kids will find their own voices –I want to give them the space to do it, and I want them to feel as though they are heard. I want them to know I am listening, before they decide to turn off and stop talking to me. I want to have the opportunity to discuss the possibilities and ask the right question.  I want to learn from them how to see a world that’s new.  I believe if I take the time and listen I will be inspired, and possibly even rewarded by the odd gem – maybe even something worth writing about.


Written by pennyinacastle

March 13, 2013 at 3:43 am

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