There are so many “isms” in the world…racism, sexism, ageism, mannerisms, and so on…but what about child-isms?
On Facebook I began writing down all the wonderful, funny “isms” that my children say because it’s just so entertaining!
I have 2 wonderful, bright, and very precocious children. No one would ever dare say they are shy though but once in a while. No, my children are loud and proud and…did I say loud?
My kids are petite but my daughter, who is about the smallest in her now 3rd grade class, is the loudest kid…I mean seriously, she could raise the dead!
My daughter didn’t speak till after 2 1/2 though I swear at 10 months I heard “Mama and airplane” however I was never positive and she did not speak those words again, not for a while anyway. Now every parent longs to hear their child speak their first word. Typically a child’s first words will be Mommy or Daddy, etc., but no…what was one of my daughter’s first words closing in on 3 yrs. old, after 10 months of speech therapy? “Octagon.” Yes…octagon; we were at a friend’s house, she looked up at the ceiling at an 8 sided light, pointed, and said it. Since then, we are lucky if she takes a breath during a 40 minute car ride, and that’s no joke! My husband and I will give each other that knowing look of…”we love our daughter dearly but dear GOD, can’t she just be quiet…for a minute?” Then we smile and come to the realization at the same time that we would much rather her be a chatter-box than withdraw and clam up…so I hope she never shuts up!
Now our son is 4 years younger and we knew from the get go that he was either going to wind up being passive and not get a word in edgewise, or was going to have to become very assertive to be heard. So yep…now we have two loud and proud children who vie for control over each other, the games they play, and even the conversation they’re trying to have with me; there are times I want to pull my hair out or shove a pencil in my ear so that I will no longer hear their incessant bickering over the most menial things…well menial to me anyway for I’m not in the position of trying to find my place in the family, or attempting to find some semblance of independence.
My daughter, being first born, is the one who of course prompted me to start writing about child-isms. One of my favorite “isms” of hers is when she was 5 years old. She was very proud of her new gym shoes because they were flashy and colorful! We were in the checkout line at the Walgreens and being the shy gal that she is…she said to the nice lady, “See my new gym shoes? Aren’t they stupendous?” If you’ve ever read the books from Beverley Cleary regarding “Ramona”…well have you met my daughter?
YOU DRIVE ME NUTS!
Parents are here to drive their kids nuts…at least that’s what our children think. But if you ponder for a moment how often we use the words no…not right now…quiet please…shhh…etc., I guess I can see why kids think we’re there to make their lives miserable at times. However there are moments when you just have to laugh about it, particularly when the conversation with Ramona, I mean my 5 yr. old daughter, goes like this:
Me – “What’s wrong?”
-G- “I’m mad.”
Me – “Why?”
-G- “Because you’re always right!”
Me – laughs a hearty laugh as I raise my hands in the air and state with exhilaration…”SHE FINALLY GETS IT!”
Yes this really did happen by the way!
Admittedly we’re always telling them to do this, or that, or don’t do this or that…there are loads of “no’s” and we’re always trying to redirect their behavior in hopes to raise them to be happy, well adjusted, successful adults…but often they don’t see it that way, they’re looking through their “kid goggles” and their perspective regarding control might wind up like this:
Me- “Do you want kids one day?”
-G- “Yes”, (pause) yes really she was quiet! “And I’ll be the boss of them right?”
Me- “Yes dear you will be the boss of them.”
-G- “I’m the boss of -J-”
Me- “No Mommy and Daddy are the boss of -J-“…she pauses again…contain yourselves!
-G- “I’m the boss of my stuffed animals!”
Me- “Yes honey, you are the boss of your stuffed animals.” She still has yet to figure out that she’s not the boss of -J- by the way.
Or perhaps their perspective on growing up is this:
-G- “Mommy I’m never going to grow up…grownups are boring…I like who I am and I’m never going to change.”
Me: “Who is trying to change you?”
This in particular disturbed me coming out of my 5 yr. old’s mouth for if you think about it…what must be going through her mind on a daily basis in regards to the message she’s receiving from those that love her? I’ve questioned myself often in how I approach discipline in that I talk her to death at times though I don’t mean to. I try so hard to get her to understand the reasons behind things so that life won’t seem so confusing but am I doing more harm than good? It’s an answer I’m not likely going to find as soon as I’d like.
MONEY GROWS ON…
It’s funny too how children view money through their goggles. I recall a quick and funny conversation between one of our favorite waitresses at Denny’s and my daughter. -G- just goes in there as if she owns the place, picks out her own crayons, grabs the coloring paper/menu and waits patiently to be seated. Folks that run and work at the restaurants we frequent know -G- whereas my husband and I are lucky if they remember our name! I won’t even mention the sour looks we get if we actually wind up going in there without them while they’re spending the night at Grammy and Grandpa’s house.
Waitress – “-G-, do you have any money?”
-G- “My Grammy!”
Or let’s travel into the future almost 3 years later where my daughter spontaneously decided to carry a bunch of laundry up the stairs which I felt was very kind and from her heart.
Me- “Wow Thank you, you’re awesome!”
-G- “I did this all by myself…for free, you don’t have to pay me.”
Me- (Pause) “Well that’s very thoughtful if you.”
I finish reading with her and am about to leave so she can go to sleep and my little Ramona says this:
-G- “You can pay me tomorrow if you want to.”
Thoughtful endeavor trumped by greed! Not gettin a dime for that one dear!
THE FACTS OF LIFE
I find it intriguing and entertaining how they perceive conception and caring for infants before they hear about the “Birds and the Bees.” You see my daughter is offended that she can’t marry her brother…so therefor she re-inserts him into her story like this:
-G- “Well then -J- can be my helper and take me to the hospital.”
Me- “Take you to the hospital why?”
-G- “To get the babies…I’ll meet the father there!”
You won’t be surprised either to hear a year or so later something completely different:
-G- “Mom, I’m not going to have any babies, I don’t want to have to change their diaper (pause)…but I’ll be working anyway as a candy maker and you’ll probably be home, so you can help me change the diaper.”
I believe it’s absolutely imperative that we tell our children the “facts of life” before they hear it from their friends but I am SO not ready to talk about the birds and the bees yet!
Kids will often have their obsessions and that’s typical…my daughter has a plethora of interests, I dare say she’s eclectic in her tastes, however one thing has remained the same, and that is her love for the earth and her trees. Yes…my girl is a tree hugger and I’m proud of it! She had just turned 6 yrs. old and as we were driving down the road we noticed some trees that had white tape wrapped around them and she says…”Mom they’re trying to make us think those are birch trees but they’re not!” I had to laugh and I’m like…I didn’t know you knew anything about trees! Another cool “ism” that same year: …”Trees need carbon dioxide to live and give off oxygen so we can live.”
Now for someone who appears to love nature so much, she sure isn’t keen on the idea of camping: “Mom, I want to camp near home so I don’t have to pee in the grass!”
THE APPLE(S) AND THE TREE
I find it funny that even though 2 kids grow up in the same family, they can still be so vastly different! I joke that my daughter, being the “apple”…instead of not falling far from the tree, she didn’t fall at all! My 2 kids however, while having their differences, are indeed similar in so many ways. I suppose having their birthdays 2 days apart didn’t help? Our son has his own obsession at almost 4 years of age…it’s been going on for the better part of a year now, sometimes it makes you wonder if it’ll ever end! Yes…it’s the butt syndrome…anything and everything that has to do with his butt makes him giggle, antagonize, and he really just winds up becoming incredibly annoying yet funny at the same time. Here’s an example of The Bickersons in action:
-J- “I tooted!” (Laughs)
-G- “No you didn’t, I didn’t hear it.”
-J- “Yes I did!”
-G- “Well I didn’t hear it!” (-J- pauses and appears to ponder)
-J- “Listen to my butt!”
He totally deadpanned this and I about drove off the road!
If you don’t have kids already, you will find that sometimes they want to be just like you…and sometimes they want to be the antithesis of you. Again she’s 6 yrs. old and we’re at the Walgreens in the hair color section and she says, “Mom, when I’m a grownup I’m going to color my hair different than yours, and you will think my hair is strange.”
Somehow I don’t doubt this, “Ramona.”
I LOVE YOU – I HATE YOU
It’s easy to forget how much your children need you at times, particularly when you feel like they might even hate you, or perhaps even say it! It’s difficult to know what their need actually is because what you think they need, may be very different than what they actually need. Here is an example:
We laid in bed together and chatted a bit before going to sleep. She likes to tell me her dreams, or make up stories about her favorite characters. I was leaving to let her sleep and this occurs:
Me: “Night honey…time for bed.”
-G- “No…you can’t leave, I’m never letting you go!” (Grabs onto me trying to keep me from leaving).
Me: “I love you I will see you in the morning.”
I leave thinking she was joking around since it seemed that way. I go into -J’s-‘ room to say goodnight and return to -G’s- and I say, “Goodnight snuggle bunny!”…she’s quiet and I walk in to find her crying.
-G- “I cry every night when you leave because I miss you.”
This made me cry, for there are those moments when they act like they could care less about you, when actually they might be trying to tell you something completely different. I’m glad I went back in.
Though kids can say the sweetest things, they can also turn around later and completely obliterate it leaving you with the feeling that your heart has been ripped out of your chest. It’s hard not to take things personally sometimes, even though you know that they’re learning to express themselves and comprehend the world around them. Their words can sting more than anything in this world for they are growing, developing their own mind, their own ideas and ideals, and finding their own path…therefor they need to gain independence and as hard as it is to let go…the time will come when you have to lest you destroy that relationship. So I try to remember the sweetness, and though I also remember the stings, there is a deep meaning behind them and it would do a parent well to remember that.
-G- at 5 yrs. old- “Daddy you’re married to Mommy right?”
Daddy – “Yes, I found the most wonderful woman and married her.”
-G-“When I’m a grown up, I’m going to marry you because you’re wonderful, and -J- will marry Mommy because she’s wonderful too.”
-G- at 7 yrs. of age: “Mom I’m not going to marry anyone, I’m not even going to show up. I’ll just have the baby at home with you and you can help me take care of it.”
Umm…really? I had to laugh!
Or they’ll say something sweet like…”Mom I’m never leaving you or this house…I’m going to stay here forever!” Though the staying here forever is not in the plan but it’s cute none the less.
And then a year later you might get…”Mom I’m going to leave and go to my new home 3 days after I become a grown up.” (There’s that sting; I remember when she said that…she had been mad at me and that was her way of telling me that there was a problem. Kind of like when she was 4 and we were playing with her dollhouse and she kept locking the mommy out. I can’t imagine what she was trying to tell me there.
One of the biggest stings was when she stopped wanting me to sing to her. Sometimes I will still ask if she wants a song, but she always says no. I remember when she was just 5 months old, in her exersaucer, and I decided to sing the alphabet. She stopped and stared at me with such awe and adoration, so from then on as an infant I would sing to her and it would be her pacifier; she no longer wanted it by the age of 5. My son is almost 4 now…I wonder when he’ll want me to stop singing.
My son, when he wakes up in the morning, will always come into my bedroom to “sleep with me”, which really just means lay with me in bed, snuggle, and watch a cartoon. If he comes in too late and we have to get up to get -G- ready for school or something, he will cry and say…”I just want to sweep with you!” I wind up getting irritated by these tears when they continue for too long, mostly out of guilt along with some irritability due to my ears about to bleed because of his incessant whining…and though I’ve said to him, “I have no control over time”… in reality, my heart breaks that I don’t and that I can’t stop time.
-J- is my little love bug…he loves to cuddle up on the couch with me as we watch “Octonauts” for the umpteenth time, and I love it. So even though there are times that we can’t “sweep” together, and my ears want to bleed because of incessant whining…my heart aches and breaks knowing that this too will end one day.
Our kids’ endearing behavior can simply melt your heart…this past year, at 7 years old, about to turn 8, I admitted to my daughter one of my greatest regrets in life. Due to my own insecurities and fear I turned down an opportunity to play the French Horn in a professional orchestra, and I never did continue on with the piano when I should have. You see my daughter is becoming anxious about performing in front of others though you would never have thought this given her “isms” above. Children change and change can be scary because it’s just not like her…she reminds me of me, which scares me for I’ve had experiences that I need to keep her free from…so I shared my regret with her and this was her sweet response: “Mommy I’ll teach you the violin and we’ll have our own orchestra since you never had a chance to.”
We should always keep their sweet words in our minds and in our hearts…even if it’s just something as simple as my son saying…”Mommy you’re a good singer, but daddy isn’t”…which made me laugh, feel bad for daddy, yet also made my heart sing.
We should tell our children we love them for at any time our world can change drastically. Even though we may tell them often how much we love them…sometimes our actions and even words can confuse them and actually make them second guess you. There’s no question that as stated above, I talk too much “at” my kids…I’ve always struggled with talking at their age level…as a clinical social worker I work best with teenagers and adults and though you can’t “therapize” your own children…my nature is to be descriptive, practical, and realistic…to a fault. I see my daughter in particular using my own words and rationale now, attempting to think ahead, etc. which is good and well not so good sometimes, but she’s still talking thank God. I always tell them that even when I’m mad, I always love them and even I make mistakes…mistakes that they shouldn’t copy for just because I do it, it doesn’t always make it a good idea, and I continue to try and yell less and love more but my little “Ramona”, and the male version of “Ramona” drive me bonkers with their strong will, sassy mouth, and their love for antagonizing. I remember asking my daughter when she was 4 if she liked making me mad…her response was this: “Sometimes…just not this much.”
I love my children…even when I’m angry.